Archived Treasure?

Mark Hoffmann (of Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg and the Biblical Studies and Technological Tools blog) recently posted about Microsoft’s decision to drop it’s “Book Search” program – a decision that may affect the Internet Archive. A few responses ensued, including my own. In the comments, Michael Hanel (my co-conspirator at the BibleWorks blog) noted that the Internet Archive is “cautiously optimistic” about being able to continue on in spite of the loss of Microsoft’s funding. The prospect of losing the Archive is a bit scary, and makes me want to buy a terabyte of memory and download everything I’d ever find useful. In my reply to Mark’s post I listed a few of the more important works that I’ve found for biblical studies on the Internet Archive:

How about the works of Kirsopp Lake – including the four volume set of articles on the Book of Acts, titled “The Beginnings of Christianity”. There are also the classics by Henry Barclay Swete – including his version of the Greek OT, as well as his works on the Holy Spirit in the NT and the early church. One of the best finds on this site is the “Cambridge Septuagint.” All the volumes are included — including the volumes on the Historical Books of the OT. These particular volumes are not covered in the TC Ebind Index. Solomon Schechter’s Some Aspects of Rabbinic Theology is still used as a textbook in the subject, and has been reprinted many times. J. B. Lightfoot’s multi-volume text and commentary on several of the Apostolic Fathers is also available.

What other treasures are hidden on the Internet Archive? Any that you can’t live without?

you can write in library books

I’m a librarian. Currently I work at the reference desk, but in the past I’ve worked at the circulation desk (where the books come back in and get checked out). Nothing – well, almost nothing – gets me more steamed than when a book is returned with scads of fresh marginal notes and underlining. I dislike the practice so much, that I’m hesitant to mark in my own books – for fear that I’ll one day donate the book to a library and make another librarian hot-under-the-collar because of my marginalia.

I have one good friend who marks up his own books quite a bit. He reasons that each underline is an act of “praying” the text back to God. He reads and studies as an act of devotion. What a guy! That being said, I’m very glad he does not “pray” in the library’s books. (I’m now stepping quietly off of the soap box.)

Now there’s a way to write in borrowed books (or even your own) without ticking off librarians!** The “unclutterer” recently posted about 3M’s Sheer Color Post-it Notes. These notes are transparent, allowing the reader to lay down the protective note on a page of text and “mark up” the note instead of the book. Genius!

Of course if the book is really good, and you want to use one of these stickies on each page, you will end up with a very fat book (with a skinny binding). This leads me to another pet peeve. At the end of the semester, we get loads of book returns. There’s bound to be several books in the pile that has Post-its hanging off of every other page with the last patron’s annotations. What a pain to remove them! (It’s not as big a pain as erasing pencil marks or lamenting pen/marker marks, but still a pain!) So, if you do start using these Sheer Post-its on library books, make sure you remove them first.

(HT Lifehacker).

Pentecost Sunday

My pastor, Jim Williams of Gloucester Assembly of God, preached a fantastic sermon today on Acts 2. It was perhaps the most refreshing sermon I’ve ever heard on the chapter. Being a Pentecostal, I can assure you, I have heard many a preacher wax eloquent on this passage! For the most part, they’ve tended to focus on things like “tongues” or “power” or “witnessing” or some other kind of phenomenon having to do with the Pentecostal distinctives of today, but rarely have I heard a sermon that actually “agrees” with Peter’s own explanation of the events of Pentecost. The mighty rushing wind and the tongues of fire were not merely manifestations geared towards producing goosebumps on the backs of the people of Judea and beyond!* The proclamation of the “wonders of God” in other tongues (v. 11) was not meant to serve as a mere precedent for Pentecostal prayer. (There are other places in Scripture that support that!) No. The manifestations of Pentecost pointed to the exaltation of Jesus to the right hand of the Father. My pastor’s homiletical point was that “believers are to be compelling evidence that Jesus is Lord and Christ.” Jesus’ status is made explicit in Luke’s account of Peter’s sermon:

God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,
   ” ‘The Lord said to my Lord:
     “Sit at my right hand
   until I make your enemies
     a footstool for your feet.” ‘
“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

The manifestations of Pentecost were evidence of the inauguration of the risen and exalted Christ. In today’s Pentecostal circles (at least the circles where I’ve grown up), the issue of “evidence” is very important. For instance, the Assemblies of God “Statement of Fundamental Truths” (our “creed”) states that speaking in tongues is “the initial physical evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.”** Of course, I know that this point causes a bit of a interpretive hiccup even among many professed “Pentecostals” (myself included). That’s not the point of this post, though. What strikes me about Acts 2 (coming away from my pastor’s sermon) is that the phenomena that attended that first Pentecost does serve as evidence – not primarily of “Spirit baptism” (at least in “Pentecostal” terms) – but rather as evidence that the once crucified Jesus was now the exalted Messiah of Israel. He was not only the promised Messiah. He was also exalted as Lord. This is a scandalous statement for a sect birthed out of monotheistic Judaism given that kurios (the Greek word translated as “Lord”) is the the word often used in Greek translations of the Old Testament to translate the Hebrew name of God – Yahweh. Jesus, the exalted Messiah – Jesus, the exalted Lord, poured out his Spirit on the church that was to stand as evidence of his status at the right hand of the Father.

Well, I’ve rambled long enough. All that is to say that I very much appreciated my pastor’s sermon this Pentecost Sunday!

* Note that Michael Barber at “Singing in the Reign” recently posted an interesting explanation of the “tongues of fire” phenomenon in Acts 2 [HERE].