PDA

View Full Version : Suggestion to include genuine Jewish resources in Bible Works



Muhammad
08-20-2009, 02:43 PM
I want to suggest to include more genuine module resources from contemporary Jewish theological scholars in Bible Works.

The reason is that the field of New Testament scholarship in the fields of NT Exegesis has its "pitfalls": NT canonical scripture paints largely a very negative picture of the leading Jewish elite at the times of Jesus which may mislead Christians and even NT scholars in raising certain Anti-Jewish or even Anti-Semitic sentiments. One case in point, for example, are the Pharisees in NT scripture. This has led even NT scholarship, despite its relatively high academic standards applied, to raise and spread such sentiments either sub-consciously or on purpose. There may be many who agree that this is a dangerous path we as Christians should not follow.

I have read several books written by Jewish theological scholars painting quite a different picture. Most of them are very critical also of the developments having taken place in Christian NT scholarship, especially in the Protestant tradition. I would strongly agree with them. That is because there is nothing "scientific" about bias and prejudice and ideological polemics against something as well in general. The other point is that it is not "historical", and an historical approach is needed if we want to deal with such "hot" topics in NT scholarship properly and in a good and non-discriminating manner: Who were the Pharisees, for example, really ; how did this group develop, and which is the historical context within which the rather polemic assertions against the Pharisees, for example, in NT scripture had been made?

In addition to what NT scholarship is saying these days with regard to such topics, it is not enough, I think, to rely on such scholarship alone. Let us know and hear what Jewish theologians have to say regarding such "hot" topics; it is another perspective that may help us to examine our own perspectives much better in a critical light and perhaps to adopt more fruitful approaches in teaching and research.

So, if you know of any helpful resources that Jewish theological scholarship could provide, why not including this in Bible Works? After all, the Bible, although Christian in its approach, is largely a Jewish book in the sense of its spiritual and historical roots.

Thank you in advance for your kind consideration regarding this.

Michael Hanel
08-20-2009, 02:56 PM
So, if you know of any helpful resources that Jewish theological scholarship could provide, why not including this in Bible Works? After all, the Bible, although Christian in its approach, is largely a Jewish book in the sense of its spiritual and historical roots.

Thank you in advance for your kind consideration regarding this.

BibleWorks as a whole does not really provide a lot of the resources to which you are referring (such as commentaries or other exegetical books), so in that sense I'm not sure your criticism is aimed at BibleWorks specifically, but just trends in NT interpretation in general. (If you really did mean to refer to specific works in BibleWorks, you'll have to fill me in.)

Furthermore, what is good about BibleWorks is that it gives users access to the source material that scholars (whether Jew or Protestant) are using when making their arguments. So not sure what Josephus did or didn't say about Pharisees? Sure you can read various secondary literature on the topic, but in BibleWorks, rather than focusing on providing you with such material, you are given access to Josephus' own words so that you can make your own conclusions.

Muhammad
08-20-2009, 05:35 PM
BibleWorks as a whole does not really provide a lot of the resources to which you are referring (such as commentaries or other exegetical books), so in that sense I'm not sure your criticism is aimed at BibleWorks specifically, but just trends in NT interpretation in general. (If you really did mean to refer to specific works in BibleWorks, you'll have to fill me in.)

Furthermore, what is good about BibleWorks is that it gives users access to the source material that scholars (whether Jew or Protestant) are using when making their arguments. So not sure what Josephus did or didn't say about Pharisees? Sure you can read various secondary literature on the topic, but in BibleWorks, rather than focusing on providing you with such material, you are given access to Josephus' own words so that you can make your own conclusions.

I am not referring to special works in Bible Works; I have bought this software only recently, so I have not had the time to review all the great resources it contains. Since Bible Works provides a lot of secondary resources like dictionaries and commentaries; I cannot see the point why resources as those mentioned cannot be included. The hint on Josephus is in place and is one of the first background readings one could use at a rather "elementary" stage. Research eventually done by certain Jewish theologians may add and complete the picture. Josephus is not regarded as completely reliable in certain historical details by some.

I do not want to start a hot debate on controversial issues in NT scholarship with regard to the points I have mentioned. But I should add that the criticism of Jewish scholars I was referring to with respect to what may be regarded as anti-semitic/Jewish resentments was in reference to Lutheran Protestant developments in Theology (the so-called Tübingen School and further developments from there) in Germany in the latter half of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century.

I am an Anglican priest, and I would not blame the Lutherans and their scholarship alone. It may happen in any NT scholarship regardless of denominational background. As you probably know, even Luther himself was not entirely free from such resentments - but again, that is something that not only Luther could be "blamed" for; it is a general problem of NT scholarship in Western Christianity as such.

Michael Hanel
08-20-2009, 07:20 PM
I am not referring to special works in Bible Works; I have bought this software only recently, so I have not had the time to review all the great resources it contains. Since Bible Works provides a lot of secondary resources like dictionaries and commentaries;

Any theological debates aside, BibleWorks does not tend to provide many commentaries. The extra materials it provides are generally lexica or grammars. That isn't to say they couldn't in the future change their mind, but that's been the path so far.

In any case, you can send them recommendations if you have any specific ones, but I just wanted to make clear that commentaries are not a focus of BibleWorks, but specific texts (like Josephus, Philo, etc.) are.

Adelphos
08-20-2009, 07:37 PM
Any theological debates aside, BibleWorks does not tend to provide many commentaries. The extra materials it provides are generally lexica or grammars. That isn't to say they couldn't in the future change their mind, but that's been the path so far.

Well, I can't let you get too far ahead of me in the post count, so I'll just add that ERMIE fills this niche pretty well anyway, as commentaries, et. al., are more and more becoming public domain, if not literally, at least de facto in many cases.

BibleWorks has always maintained that the text, not add-ons, is its focus, and I am impressed that they have not only stuck to this purpose, but hope that they will continue to do so as well.

After all, commentaries are interpretations, nothing more, nothing less, and no individual Christian is reponsible for the words of another.

Mark Eddy
08-21-2009, 12:04 AM
The only commentary which comes with BibleWorks is Matthew Henry, because that work has been in the public domain for a long time, and it was one of the first commentaries to be digitized. So BibleWorks could throw it in for free. Part of the "problem" with more recent scholarship is that works which are still under copyright cost more. BibleWorks wants to keep the basic price down. Even if BibleWorks would like to have newer lexica, grammars, text critical works, or Bible Dictionaries, copyright/cost issues have prevented some, or added considerable cost for more specialized reference works.
As the others have said, BibleWorks does not plan on adding any commentaries of any theological persuasion. The beauty of BibleWorks is that is helps each user to read the actual text of Scripture, not what others say about it. It makes us do our own homework. I understand that even grammars and lexica have theological biases. But the sorts of biases which you mentioned are pretty rare.
If you want commentaries or monographs, buy them in print or in brand X. Use BibleWorks to study the Bible itself in its world.
Also, this forum is not the place for theological discussion. If you wish to discuss the concerns you raised, you could do that by starting a thread in the non-BibleWorks section of the BibleWorks forum.
In Christ,
Mark Eddy

bkMitchell
09-05-2009, 01:55 PM
I want to suggest to include more genuine module resources from contemporary Jewish theological scholars in Bible Works.

Much of M. Cohen's(a contemporary Jewish scholar) work on the Targums is included in Bibleworks as well as a growing targumic library. Not to mention the Helenistic Jewish works as well as the secular manuscripts from the Dead Sea Scrolls. The addition of Rodkinson Babylonian Talmud and Mishnah in Bibleworks 8 was a sure sign that the owners and administrators of Bibleworks are trying to add more 'genuine' and original language resources both in terms of Hebraica as well as in Judaica. And, much of this is offered free of charge!

Keep in mind, that the goal of BibleWorks has little to do with building a theological library, rather the purpose is to provide one with tools to exegete text.


Grace and Peace,
bk.Mitchell

P.S.
But, Sure I can agree that Reform(progressive), Conservative/Masorti , Orthodox, and Haredi scholars' halachot and theology have something to bring to the table.