Category Archives: Academia

Tim Bulkeley on “Degrees of Presence” in Distance Education

Tim Bulkeley, Tyndale Carey Graduate School, was one of the presenters in the SBL session on Distance Education. His comments about Degrees of Presence are applicable to anyone teaching a distance course. He’s placed on his blog his notes in a few posts, which I’ve linked to below. I’ve also placed the links on my SBL 2009 Pedagogy page for continued reference.

Statement generated as result of workshop “In Search of a Theology of Celebration”

I’ve been mentioning the workshop “In Search of a Theology of Celebration” in a few posts. The BioLogos blog Science and the Sacred has another post about this workshop, along with a link to a statement signed by the participants.

BioLogos blog Science and the Sacred
In the recent post, “Exploring the Truths of Scripture and the Truths of Nature” a small snippet of the statement was quoted:

Many voices in our current culture assert that there are irreconcilable conflicts between science and faith in Christ. We, the undersigned Christian pastors, theologians, scientists, and other scholars, respectfully disagree. We have learned much from each other during these days of communal prayer, presentation, discussion, and worship, but we also recognize that we have much more to learn and many others from whom to learn. We affirm that the truths of Scripture and the truths of nature both have their origins in God, and that further exploration of all these truths can enrich our joyful and worshipful appreciation of the Creator’s love, goodness, and grace. We commit to exploring these important issues further.

The full statement, available for download from the BioLogos Web site, includes the names, affiliations, and endorsements of the workshop participants.

Michael Fox discusses his commentary on Proverbs

Michael Fox discussed the second volume of his commentary on Proverbs with a group of bibliobloggers gathered at a dinner hosted by John Hobbins at the Deutsches Haus in New Orleans. Great food, fellowship, fun and discussion. The evening benefited Jericho Road, a charity rebuilding community after Katrina. I’ll post more about this fine evening later.

Taking the Distance Out of Distance Education

Today I was one of the presenters in the following session:

22-201 Academic Teaching and Biblical Studies
11/22/2009 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM Room: Studio 9 – MR
Theme: Distance Learning: How to teach traditional topics in a non-traditional format

I’ve posted links to some of the resources mentioned in my portion of session below. An updated list (including material from the other presenters) will be kept on the SBL 2009 Pedagogy page of my blog. Check back again to find more material as we (the five presenters) update the links.

Online Tools:

  • Moodle: Open Source community-based tools for learning
  • Elluminate: web, audio, video, and social networking solutions for teaching, learning, and collaborating
  • LearnCentral: social learning network for education, sponsored by Elluminate

A few of the tools mentioned by Brooke Lester:

  • Wetpaint: A site solely for creating wikis
  • Diigo: Social bookmarking, highlighting, and commenting of web pages.
  • Netvibes: Bringing feeds to a central location from blogs, from wikis, from Diigo, from Twitter, from Yahoo Pipes, and so on.
  • Yahoo Pipes: Grouping, filtering, ordering RSS feeds from anywhere.

Check his resource page for more links and tutorials to use these resources.

Bible Software Shootout

I could not be at the SBL Bible Software Shootout session between Logos, SESB, BibleWorks, Accordance and Olive Tree but I did follow some of the SBLtweets. So I’m putting a roundup of the tweets from that session here. If you were there and have anything to add, please leave a comment, thanks!

UPDATE (for a full summary of the session go to the blog This Lamp):
Continue reading

IBR Friday PM Session: Tremper Longman on Commentaries

Tremper Longman

The Institute for Biblical Research meeting on Friday night featured Tremper Longman speaking on “Of the Making of Commentaries There Is No End: The Past, Present, and Future of a Genre.”

Of course, Tremper knows firsthand about commentaries since he has been an editor and a contributor to many.

“Why write new commentaries?” Tremper outlined seven reasons why commentaries should continue to be written.

  1. Advances in knowledge (e.g. language, “covenant” in light of ANE treaties, cognate literature discoveries).
  2. New methods and perspectives (i.e. canonical approach)
  3. Competing interpretations. There are many perspectives at the table.
  4. Human finitude. Each scholar brings a distinctive set of skills.
  5. Community. We come from different backgrounds and we need to read in community.
  6. Changing contexts. How the text bears on life today.
  7. Different readerships. Scholars, clergy and laypeople.

The second question Longman asked (and answered) was “Why keep old commentaries?”

  1. To read in community who have lived throughout history.
  2. To avoid modern hubris.

And finally Tremper answered, “What type of new commentaries do we need?” This question must address the issues of both content and delivery. Content must be tailored for the scholars, clergy, and popular audience. The popular commentaries should not be avoided or neglected. Scholars should not shun this type of commentary for fear of repercussions (for their career) from “simplifying” content. One difficulty for scholars in writing for clergy may be that it is hard for them to reflect about the modern world because they spend so much time absorbed in the ancient world. More emphasis must be placed on theological interpretation and reflection (two series were highlighted: Two Horizons series and the new Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible).

In particular, Tremper emphasized that there is a need for OT commentaries which have a Christological view to help clergy preach the OT in context of redemptive history.

The future shape of commentaries must include digital formats (even though Tremper said he will always prefer the hard copy himself). Digital delivery will allow wider dissemination, ability to address various levels of audience, and can be more easily updated.

Professor Choon-Leong Seow (Princeton Seminary) and Professor Daniel Treier (Wheaton College) were the respondents.

Notes from the road: Days 3 & 4

It’s been a whirlwind of activity here in Grand Rapids. Our consultation came to an official end this afternoon, and then we had a terrific dinner at the home of one of hosts. We had a Brazilian BBQ (the meat just kept coming) and Brazilian side dishes (that I can’t remember how to pronounce) followed by Dutch dessert (our hosts were Dutch, but had lived in Brazil for 15 years and 4 of the attendees were from São Paulo). Languages at the table: Dutch, German, Portuguese, Afrikaans, and a tiny bit of English.Tomorrow I leave early in the morning to drive back to Chicago and then fly to New Orleans. Then the SBL circus begins!

So, what exactly have I been doing in Grand Rapids? Well, the short description is that I was invited (at the request of my advisor, Christo van der Merwe) to participate in a three-day Consultation on Bible Software in the Classroom and Pastorate. There were approximately 20 attendees. All stakeholders, but from different vantage points. Some were data producers, some software designers, others professors, and still others represented “real world” situations in the pastorate. There were representatives from four continents. No final answers or results came out of this time, rather it was the opening of a discussion and an assessment of the needs, tools, methods, and future of digital biblical tools. In addition, relationships were forged, ideas exchanged, and experiences demonstrated. It was a privilege for me to be able to participate.

I think we are still contemplating the content of our discussions, so it may be a bit before I post any real reflections from these three days. However, I do think that the fruit of the consultation should be shared more broadly, and receive input and contributions from others. Stay tuned!

BioLogos: In Search of a Theology of Celebration (Workshop on Science, Evolution & Theology)

Science and the Sacred blog
The BioLogos blog (Science and the Sacred) has a post with a summary of some of the discussion from the BioLogos workshop last week that sought to look at issues of science, evolution, and theology. A very necessary conversation!

In the history of North American evangelicalism, there has never been a meeting like this. Gathered together at the Harvard Club in New York City were about 55 leading evangelical pastors, theologians, scientists, and other scholars. We were also privileged to have a small number of lay observers, who were especially important in our informal reflections. We spent two days in worship, study, prayer, and fellowship.

The scientists likely all held the position that God has created life in a manner that is consistent with the findings of mainstream science. Many of the others in attendance were not sure what to think, but amazingly–given the schedules of people in leadership positions–they were willing to come from all over the country (and beyond) to spend two days helping us understand the theological and pastoral ramifications of the science which we are so convinced is true. They were so gracious, not just in how they helped to inform us about theology and pastoral care, but especially as they listened to us talk about science. We, the scientists, described the evidence for evolution and attempted to show why it is so important for the Church hear what mainstream biology has to say about creation. They listened, and we were deeply moved by the spirit with which they listened.

Read the entire post here.

Pete Enns (Part 2) at Science and the Sacred blog

Pete Enns is the Friday “guest voice” for a second week over at Science and the Sacred (the BioLogos blog).
Science and the Sacred blog

This week he starts to describe in more detail what he means by an Incarnational Model for understanding the Bible.

Models are intellectual constructs that try to account for data. They are ways of putting the pieces together and aim to achieve the greatest degree of explanatory power.

We all have models of reality, whether or not we know it. We all hold to hypotheses and theories (which I will take as roughly synonymous with “model”) to explain what we see.

This is also the case for how we interpret the Bible. All of us–from the most ardent Fundamentalist to the most Liberal Christian–construct models to account for the “data.” The models that are the most coherent (account for the most data) wind up being the most persuasive. No model is pure and objectively correct. They are all working hypotheses, and as such are also always up for revision.

One model that accounts for why the Bible behaves the way it does is an incarnational model. Simply put, an incarnational model of Scripture is one that expects Scripture to have an unapologetically thorough human dimension analogous to Jesus’ complete humanity. Both the human dimension of Scripture and the humanity of Jesus are essential to making them what they are.

Read the rest of this second part in the series here.