A Western Australia Catholic journal reports a visit to an excavated site at a convent in Nazareth. Locals believe it may be the tomb of St. Joseph. In any event, it offers us insight into what Jesus’ tomb may have looked like, as well as his manger in Bethlehem. Note the photos at http://www.therecord.com.au/site/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2105&Itemid=29
Odos — what a great name for a Bible blog. It means “way” or “road” in Greek. This blog, which also started in August, comes from the instructors and staff of the Denver Catholic Biblical and Catechetical School. “As Catholics, we are all called to follow the ‘Way of the Lord,’ as Jesus continually calls us to do in the Gospels. But what does this mean to a typical Catholic trying to live in the modern world? This blog … seeks to explore those questions using Sacred Scripture and the living tradition of the Catholic Church.” Take a look!
With Year 1 of Catholic Biblical School behind us, we have a far greater appreciation of Christianity’s Jewish heritage. I’ve particularly enjoyed reading Old Testament-based fiction. Fellow CBS scholar Kim Long introduced me to Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent and I introduced her to the commentary I found, Sandra Hack Polaski’s Inside the Red Tent.
Here’s a fascinating multimedia discussion, The Jewish Roots of the Christian Story, which ran on American Public Media radio at Easter 2005. It focuses on New Testament writings. http://being.publicradio.org/programs/jewishroots/links.shtml It’s an hour-long program. With my slow satellite connection, I’ve never been able to hear it all the way through, but what I’ve heard is fascinating.
Try out all the “pages.” There are links to several interesting resources – art (Marc Chagall’s White Crucifixion), music, and thoughtful articles. One is a reprint of a 1995 America article, “The Narratives of Jesus’ Passion and Anti-Judaism,” by New Testament scholar Raymond E. Brown (http://artfuljesus.0catch.com/brown.html). You may have studied Brown’s writings in other Bible courses. Time Magazine called him “probably the premier Catholic Scripture scholar in the U.S.” Father Brown, who died in 1998, was a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. We’ll be using his The Gospel and Epistles of John later in Year 2.
Brown’s article outlines the gradual development of anti-Judaism after the time of Christ. It did not spring full-blown from the writings of the gospels, he explains. It appeared with the advent of bad relations between believers in Jesus and those who did not believe in him. “The effect of the hostile feelings became one-sided after the conversion of Constantine to Christ and the gaining of political power by Christians.” I found this very helpful in understanding how anti-Semitism developed.
Taking technology and Bible study to a new level, there’s a weekly chat on Twitter aiming to connect Christians all over the world. It’s Monday nights at 8 p.m. Central time. They are presently studying Hebrews. Says blogger Abbi Siler, “The goal of #biblechat is to bring fellow Christian tweeters together to build relationships, share encouragement, challenge each other and pray for each other via Twitter.” Makes sense. Those are some of the same benefits we’re enjoying through Catholic Biblical School.
Here’s a link to her blog, with instructions how to participate.
If your Bible discusses the Freer ending of the Gospel of Mark only in a footnote, here’s a link to a fuller rendition (see footnote 2): http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/mark/mark16.htm#v9 Makes me want to visit the Freer Gallery on my next visit to D.C.!
While you’re there, do a bit of exploring on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website. There’s a Bible link which takes you to a digitalized New American Bible index: http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/index.shtml And a side link to audio versions (podcasts) of the daily reading — a great aid for those of us who are lectors.
Study hint: You can use this website to copy and paste verses of Scripture for our lessons. There is a search function — http://catholinks.com/BibleSearchNAB.htm — but I find it difficult to use. Another link to NAB is on the Vatican website, but its concordance and other study aids are even more technical. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/_INDEX.HTM
As a beginning bible scholar last year, I found a non-Catholic site very helpful. http://www.biblegateway.com/ makes it easy to look up keywords, topics, and passages.
Listening to Gene describe Mark’s style of writing, I was struck by the similarities to journalism: Simple words and direct language. Short, declarative sentences. Action verbs (baptize, repent, preach, teach, follow, cast out). Vivid images (“…clothed with camel’s hair, and had a leather girdle around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey.”)
You’ll see this more clearly, as Gene suggested, in the RSV rather than NAB. Here’s a link if you need it: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/r/rsv/browse.html
What’s more, newspaper reporters learn to “Show, don’t tell.” Keep the story moving, don’t let it bog down. Focus on the facts and leave the opinion for the editorial page. Know your audience and tailor your language or content to that particular audience.
Any editor worthy of the name, however, would try to break Mark of bad habits. Among them:
- Starting so many sentences with “And,” “But,” or “Immediately.”
- And failing to cite his sources!
Here’s an article about different Bible study resources available as applications for your iPhone and other devices. One is a Bible dictionary and one has Bible maps. Let me know if you try any out! I use e-readers and a lot of other “apps” but haven’t tried bible research this way.