TLG Facelift; Updates to Perseus

Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG) has been updated with a new look. From the website:

The TLG site has just been updated. The new site was designed by Marcie Hague. Cindy Moore put the finishing touches and added the extensions to the TLG databases. The new page includes a brief history of the TLG illustrated by a timeline, a link to Google Maps showing TLG Real-Time Access and FAQs for subscribers. The Abridged version has been expanded with more than 600 works from Migne’s Patrologia Graeca (MPG). The lemmatized search engine is now available on the Abridged version.

The full-version of TLG is only available to subscribers or individuals who are using their institution’s subscription. As the paragraph above mentions, however, there is an abridged version that is available to all which includes a subset of the works available in the subscription version (which now includes over 600 works from Migne’s Patrologia Graeca.

My co-blogger on the BibleWorks blog, Michael Hanel, reports that Perseus has recently made some updates to its library (see here). In addition to a new job announcement at Perseus, there have also been some improvements and additions:

  • Many improvements to the Art & Archaeology data and interface. You can now search the A&A data and image captions.
  • Euclid’s Elements have been added, as well as a large number of Plutarch texts, edited by Bernadotte Perrin. Links to these texts can be found on the Greek and Roman collection page.

Here are links to the additions from Euclid:

Below is a full list of the items added in Plutarch:

Panoramic Views on

Ephesus in Ephesus

I stumbled upon – an interesting site. In essence, it collects 360 degree panoramic views of various locations throughout the world, cataloged by location and linked with Google Maps. Point and click on the image above to move the picture around (both to the left and the right and up and down). This site has a great deal of potential for teachers. It allows you to virtually step inside a location and look around.

Here’s what the site says about itself:

Bringing the world to a wide audience in a new way, is a guide that lets you step inside. We bring the full spectrum of high-resolution immersive, virtual reality experience to the web. 360 Cities brings you closer to the reality of a place than has ever been possible before…

The site’s pretty nifty. The image embedded above is of ruins in Ephesus (Turkey). Below are some links to other countries of interest.

Here’s the page that’s for the Middle East in general.

There’s a similar downloadable program that is available for free from Ted Hildebrandt (professor at Gordon College in Wenham, Mass.). Get Lost in Jerusalem (550 MB download) provides similar 360 degree views of various locations in Jerusalem that allow you to take a virtual tour. If you don’t know about Ted’s Biblical eSources site, you need to take a look. He has some absolutely fantastic resources available! His bibliography on Proverbs is a thing of beauty!

New Provost at Gordon-Conwell: Frank James of RTS

Via Justin Taylor at Between Two Worlds & Adam Couturier at Thoughts from a Young, Slightly Cantankerous, Aspiring Theologian:

Frank James, president of Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Fla., will become provost at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. An announcement delivered to the students of RTS by Mark Futato (academic dean at RTS) is available online.

Dr. James’ bio is available on the RTS website:

Texas Tech University, B.A.
Westminster Theological Seminary, M.A., Ph.D.
Oxford University, D.Phil.

Frank Allison James III is President of Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. He also serves as Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology and Professor of Church History. He was awarded the D.Phil. in History from Oxford University in 1993 and a Ph.D. in Theology from Westminster Theological Seminary/Pennsylvania in 2000. He was a recipient of a Lilly Theological Research Grant (1999), elected by the faculty of Keble College, Oxford University, to membership of the Senior Common Room (1994); was awarded an Overseas Research Students Award, (1991-1992); Isaiah Berlin Bursary at Oxford University (1990 91); Leonard J. Theberge Memorial Scholarship at St. Peter’s College, Oxford University (1991-1993); Oxford University Research Grant, (1991); The Christina Drake Research Award for Italian Studies at the Taylor Institution, Oxford University (1991); and the St. Peter’s College Graduate Award, Oxford (1990-1992). He has given lectures at distinguished universities and research institutes around the globe including, All Souls College, Oxford University, Institut fur schweizerische Reformationsgeschichte at the University of Zurich, Johannes A’ Lasco Bibliothek, Emden, Germany, The University of Padua, Italy and the Evangelikaini teologicky seminar, Prague, Czech Republic.

Selected Publications
His publications include: Editor/Author, Peter Martyr Vermigli and the European Reformations: Semper Reformanda, Studies in the History of Christian Thought (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2004); Co-editor/Author, with Charles E. Hill, The Glory of the Atonement: In Biblical, Theological and Historical Perspective (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2004; Editor/Translator, Two Theological Loci: Predestination and Justification. Peter Martyr Library vol. 8, (Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Press, 2003)); Co-Editor/Author, with Emidio Campi and Peter Opitz (both of the University of Zurich), Peter Martyr Vermigli: Humanism, Republicanism and Reformation, Travaux d’Humanisme et Renaissance CCCLXV (Geneva: Librairie Droz, 2002); Coeditor/Translator, with J. Patrick Donnelly and Joseph C. McLelland, The Peter Martyr Reader (Kirksville, Missouri: Truman State University Press, 1999); Author, Peter Martyr Vermigli and Predestination: The Augustinian Inheritance of an Italian Reformer, Oxford Theological Monographs (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998); Co-editor/Author with Heiko Augustus Oberman, Via Augustini: The Recovery of Augustine in the Later Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation, Studies in Medieval and Reformation Thought 48, (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1991); and since 1996, he has been General Editor of the Peter Martyr Library (with Joseph C. McLelland of McGill University and J. Patrick Donnelly of Marquette University); and Senior Editor, Ad Fontes: Digital Library of Classical Theological Texts, with Alister E. McGrath (Oxford University), Richard A. Muller (Calvin Seminary) and Herman Selderhuis (Theologische Universiteit Apeldoorn). In addition, he has published many articles and essays in academic and popular journals.

He was Lecturer in Philosophy and History, Villanova University (1986-87); Assistant Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology, Westmont College (1987-89); Contributing Editor at Christian History Magazine, (1986-89); Regular Visiting Professor of Reformation History, Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, affiliated to Keble College, Oxford University (1989-2001).

SBL Greek font released

SBL just posted a new Greek Unicode font (SBL Greek). Here’s James 5:17-18 in the new font:

Here’s a screenshot of the SBL Greek font next to a few other Unicode Greek fonts (Gentium, Palatino Linotype, Vusillus Old Type, and Arial Unicode MS):

The font looks pretty decent. Here’s a screenshot of what the font looks like embedded with English (Latin) letters in Times New Roman:

I’m not sure if I like the ‘slant’ of the font. It looks as if the Greek is ‘italicized’ by default (though the ‘slant’ is not nearly as pronounced as Vusillus Old Type). The line height is not exactly the same as Times New Roman either (the difference is very slight, but there’s still a difference). I think I still prefer Gentium for writing and Palatino Linotype for web browsing.

I will be interested to see how it looks against the SBL BibLit transliteration font (yet to be released). I do hope they combine SBL Hebrew, SBL Greek and SBL BibLit into a single über-font similar to Cardo. That would be quite handy.

The font is available for download at the SBL Biblical Fonts page.

HT: Rod Decker at the NT Resources Blog.

UPDATE: Mark Hoffman notes on the BibleWorks Forums that “According to John Hudson who designed the SBL fonts, once both fonts have stable versions, there will be a combined font called SBLBibLit.”

Job in James 5

Patrick Woods of “So Much For Straw” has been blogging on James’ use of Old Testament figures as “verbal icons” [here]. His most recent post focuses upon James’ reference to Job’s patience/endurance (Jas 5:11) [here]. His posts reminded me of some of my own thoughts on this passage, so I figured I’d write a note for the blog… Please excuse the scattered thoughts:

I’ve wondered about the juxtoposition of “compassionate and merciful” with Job in James 5. I think that this is an allusion to the declaration of YHWH in Exodus 34:6 “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” The LXX’s οἰκτίρμων καὶ ἐλεήμων does not completely line up with James’ πολύσπλαγχνός … καὶ οἰκτίρμων, but the gist is there. The self-revelation of YHWH in Exodus 34 is referenced in several places throughout the OT (Neh 9:17, 31; Ps 86:15; 103:8; 110:4; 144:8; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2). James’ use comes on the heals of his description of the eschatological judgment of the rich (5:1-6) and his admonition to the community to endure patiently through present-day trials in light of the imminent arrival of the Lord (5:7-9). The emphasis is upon the patience/endurance of the community in light of temporal and/or physical nearness of the Lord/Judge. In the canonical story of Job, “the end” of the story rests in God’s theophanic ‘nearness’ in the midst of “the whirlwind and clouds” (Job 38:1). The original declaration of God’s graciousness and compassion in Exodus also takes place in the midst of Gods’ theophanic nearness (see Exod 19 for the description of Sinai). I wonder if James is pulling these themes together. Job’s suffering was vindicated in God’s revelation/arrival. The suffering of James’ community will be vindicated in the arrival of the Lord/Judge. The flip side of God’s “mercy and compassion” in Exodus is his promise to “visit the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation” (Exod 34:7). For James, the future arrival of the Lord will be characterized by his graciousness and compassion upon those who endure, but his judgment upon those who oppress.

Another reference to God’s graciousness and compassion occurs in Sirach 2:11. The context of this allusion is particularly pertinent to themes found throughout James:

My child, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for testing. 2 Set your heart right and be steadfast, and do not be impetuous in time of calamity. 3 Cling to him and do not depart, so that your last days may be prosperous. 4 Accept whatever befalls you, and in times of humiliation be patient. 5 For gold is tested in the fire, and those found acceptable, in the furnace of humiliation. 6 Trust in him, and he will help you; make your ways straight, and hope in him. 7 You who fear the Lord, wait for his mercy; do not stray, or else you may fall. 8 You who fear the Lord, trust in him, and your reward will not be lost. 9 You who fear the Lord, hope for good things, for lasting joy and mercy. 10 Consider the generations of old and see: has anyone trusted in the Lord and been disappointed? Or has anyone persevered in the fear of the Lord and been forsaken? Or has anyone called upon him and been neglected? 11 For the Lord is compassionate and merciful; he forgives sins and saves in time of distress. 12 Woe to timid hearts and to slack hands, and to the sinner who walks a double path! 13 Woe to the fainthearted who have no trust! Therefore they will have no shelter. 14 Woe to you who have lost your nerve! What will you do when the Lord’s reckoning comes? 15 Those who fear the Lord do not disobey his words, and those who love him keep his ways. 16 Those who fear the Lord seek to please him, and those who love him are filled with his law. 17 Those who fear the Lord prepare their hearts, and humble themselves before him. 18 Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, but not into the hands of mortals; for equal to his majesty is his mercy, and equal to his name are his works. (Sirach 2 NRSV)

Note the themes of testing and endurance/patience (vv. 1-2, 4-5; cf. Jas 1:2-8; Jas 5:7-11). Note also the admonition to “wait” for the Lord’s mercy and not to stray (v. 8; cf. Jas 5:7-11; Jas 5:19-20) and the warning against walking a “double path” (v. 12; cf Jas 1:8). Sirach asks “What will you do when the Lord’s reckoning comes?” (v. 14; cf. Jas 5:1-11). A detailed comparison of James and Sirach (looking for similarities, differences and possible allusions) would be fruitful. Several commentators (Hartin, Davids, Johnson, Frankemölle, Chaine, Cantitat, etc.) have done so in the introductions to their commentaries. Also see Antonius Boon’s 1860 dissertation (unfortunately only available in Latin) and the works by Núria Calduch-Benages.* There are other parts of Sirach that may have had an influence on James’ letter. See some of the discussion in my thesis on Elijah in Jas 5:17-18.

  • *Calduch-Benages, Núria. “Amid Trials: Ben Sira 2:1 and James 1:2.” In Intertextual Studies in Ben Sira and Tobit: Essays in Honor of Alexander A. Di Lella, ed. Jeremy Corley and Vincent Skemp, 255-263. Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 38. Washington, D.C.: Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2005.
  • ——-. “Ben Sira 2 y el Nuevo Testament.” Estudios bíblicos 53 (1995): 305-316.

UnisaETD = University of South Africa Electronic Theses & Dissertations

I just stumbled upon UnisaETD (University of South Africa Electronic Theses & Dissertations). On this site, you can search theses and dissertations originating at Unisa. It’s a great supplement to Proquest’s Digital Dissertation Abstracts* and the British Library’s EThOS. UnisaETD theses are abstracted in Dissertation Abstracts, but you must hunt down the electronic text directly through UnisaETD.

There’s one major quirk to UnisaETD, however. You MUST use Internet Explorer to navigate through the site.

*The full-text version of Proquest’s Digital Dissertation Abstracts is available through the Boston Public Library for those in Massachusetts who qualify for an eCard. How’s that for your tax dollars at work? 😉

Search Biblia Patristica Online

Excellent news! Ben Blackwell at the Dunelm Road notes in a recent post that the index of patristic biblical citations & allusions found in the 7 volume Biblia Patristica is searchable online through BIBLindex!

As Ben notes, the search interface is not terribly user-friendly, but who cares? It beats flipping through pages any day. Check out his post for information on using this resource.

In case you’re wondering, here’s a little bit of information on the Biblia Patristica series (as explained by Ben):

Seven volumes have been published to date, along with a supplementary volume for biblical references in Philo of Alexandria, who served as an exegetical model for many patristic authors.  The entries do not distinguish between quotations and allusions, and criteria for the latter are rather loose. (Began in 1975, latest volume in 2000.)

  • Volume 1: beginnings of extracanonical Christian literature up to Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian.
  • Volume 2: Third century, apart from Origen.
  • Volume 3: Origen
  • Volume 4: Fourth century, includes Eusebius of Caesarea, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Epiphanius of Salamis.
  • Volume 5: covers Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, and Amphilochius of Iconium.
  • Volume 6: Latin writers, Hilary of Poitiers, Ambrose of Milan, and the Ambrosiaster.
  • Volume 7: Didymus the Blind.

If this post excites you, you’ll want to read Ben’s earlier post on Patristic Biblical Citations.

Thanks, Ben, for blogging on this!

Seeing demons in the Talmud

David Pescovitz at BoingBoing draws attention to Aharon Varady’s post linking ‘demons’ in rabbinic literature to “Charles Bonnet Syndrome, a disease where mentally healthy people have very strange and vivid hallucinations.” Aharon quotes from the Babylonian Talmud, tractate Berakhoth 6a:

It has been taught: Abba Benjamin says, If the eye had the power to see them, no creature could endure the demons. Abaye says: They are more numerous than we are and they surround us like the ridge round a field. R. Huna says: Every one among us has a thousand on his left hand and ten thousand on his right hand.2 Raba says: The crushing in the Kallah3 lectures comes from them.4 Fatigue in the knees comes from them. The wearing out of the clothes of the scholars is due to their rubbing against them. The bruising of the feet comes from them. If one wants to discover them,5 let him take sifted ashes and sprinkle around his bed, and in the morning he will see something like the footprints of a cock. If one wishes to see them, let him take the after-birth of a black she-cat, the offspring of a black she-cat, the first-born of a first-born, let him roast it in fire and grind it to powder, and then let him put some into his eye, and he will see them. Let him also pour it into an iron tube and seal it with an iron signet that they6 should not steal it from him. Let him also close his mouth, lest he come to harm. R. Bibi b. Abaye did so,7 saw them and came to harm. The scholars, however, prayed for him and he recovered.

(2) Cf. Psalm 91:7 which verse is quoted in some editions.
(3) The Assemblies of Babylonian students during the months of Elul and Adar, v. Glos.
(4) For really the lectures are not overcrowded.
(5) MS. M.: their footprints.
(6) The demons.
(7) He put the powder into his eye. (Soncino)

He also cites b. Ber. 43b, another passage where demons are mentioned. (Demon = מזיק maziq; pg. 755 in Jastrow.)

On a tangential note, under the entry for מזייעי (frightening demons) in Jastrow’s dictionary, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan on Numbers 6:24 is cited, which contains a nifty expansion of Aaron’s Priestly Benediction:

The Lord bless thee and keep thee. The Lord make His face to shine upon thee, and gracious unto thee. The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and grant thee peace. The Lord bless thee in all thy business, and keep) thee from demons3 of the night, and things that cause terror, and from demons of the noon4 and of the morning, and from malignant spirits and phantoms.  The Lord make His face to shine upon thee, when occupied in the law, and reveal to thee its secrets, and be merciful unto thee. The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee in thy prayer, and grant thee peace in thy end.

3 Liliths
4 Psalm 91:6. Vulg. et Sept. (Tg. Ps.-J. Num 6:24-26; Etheridge’s translation)

It’s interesting that both the Soncino Talmud and Etheridge’s translation of the Targum mention Psalm 91:6-7 (vv 5-7 quoted below):

You will not fear the terror of the night, or the arrow that flies by day, or the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 91:5-7 NRSV Be not afraid of the terror of demons who walk at night, of the arrow of the angel of death that he looses during the day; Of the death that walks in darkness, of the band of demons that attacks at noon. You will invoke the holy name; a thousand will fall at your left side, and ten thousand at your right; they will not come near you to do harm. Targum Psalms 91:5-7 (Cook)

These rabbinic passages are quite strange. All three documents associate this Psalm with the demonic. I’m too tired to analyze this, but it seems an appropriate post for Friday the 13th, a few minutes before midnight.

It’s good to see the Babylonian Talmud getting props on BoingBoing.

Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts

Elephant from the Aberdeen Bestiary

Matthew Fisher, an assistant professor of English at UCLA has put together a Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts. Prof. Fisher has cataloged 1,024 digitized manuscripts out of a potential of 5,000. Several medieval biblical manuscripts are included. Here’s a link to Matthew chapter 1 in a 9th century Greek manuscript from Bobbio, Italy (now housed at the Abbey of St. Gallen in Switzerland).

Read the whole article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. HT: John Jaeger of Dallas Baptist University.