Are you listening?

Church leaders from more than 40 denominations have encouraged their congregations to take the "You've Got The Time" challenge, a 40-day campaign of listening to the New Testament for 28 minutes a day according to the Christian Post.

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Oldest known Christian Bible available on line

Reuters reports that the surviving parts of the world's oldest Christian bible will be reunited online on Monday, generating excitement among both believers and biblical scholars. The surviving fragments of the Codex Sinaiticus is the oldest complete New Testament and exists in four different locations in England, Egypt, Germany and Russia and now on the internet.

Unifying the book digitally and making it available on the internet will allow scholars to study the whole text as a whole. Up until now, relatively few scholars have only been able to see bits and pieces. Scholars (or the merely curious) will be able to search all the surviving text, down to thumbnail-sized fragments found at St Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai.

"The limits on access to this manuscript previously have meant that people (academics) have tended to dip, so that they have seized on particular things" to advance theories, McKendrick told Reuters in an interview.

He said the website will enable research to be carried out in a holistic way for the first time, forcing top scholars to view their theories in context.

A good example, he said, was evidence advanced by some academics pointing to the theory that it could have been made in the ancient city of Cesarea in Israel.

"It is our hope this will provide the catalyst for new research and it is already creating great interest," Garces told Reuters.

The Guardian says,

The pages can be searched in facsimile, transcribed or translated. The digital photography is of such high resolution that insect bites and scars of some of hundreds of animals whose hides became the vellum pages can be seen.

The text has proven immensely popular with believers who want to glimpse the oldest complete New Testament. When the first 25% of the the Codex Sinaiticus was made available online last year, it attracted 3.5 million hits and crashed the site.

The bible can be viewed online free and includes modern Greek translations and some sections translated into English. The text will be found here.

Read more here and here.

Should public schools teach the Bible?

USAToday asks if the Bible should be taught in public schools. School districts like those in Texas are seeking a way to include the Bible in the curriculum while respecting the beliefs of students. Professors of Western Civilization and the humanities think students need this background to understand their studies.

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Top ten worst Bible passages

The Telegraph lists the top 10 worst Bible passages as announced at Greenbelt by Simon Jenkins, editor of Ship of Fools:

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The Bible is too liberal

In the spirit of the American Library Association's Banned Books Week, celebrated annually the last week of September, The Lead has discovered a site that believes the Bible is too liberal.

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Proof texting for the death penalty

Ekklesia reports on Amnesty International's highlighting of a Texas jury that used the Bible to justify the death penalty:

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When the Bible offends us

Theolog on When the Bible offends us:

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Jesus Seminar takes on Paul

According to The Oregonian, the Jesus Seminar has moved its headquarters to Willamette University in Salem, OR and will publish a new translation of Paul's letters to the early church:

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What did Jesus do?

Continuing today's theme of Jesus the Christ and his interpreters, Adam Gopnik explores the various approaches to understanding Jesus in The New Yorker:

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Homosexuality an "abomination"?

Jay Michaelson has a nice piece today in Religion Dispatches in which he outlines the use, and misuse, of the term "abomination" in some translations of the Bible:

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Ancient Hebrew cosmos

Designer Michael Paukner has created a depiction of what ancient Hebrews believed the cosmos looked like, based on what is recorded in the Old Testament:

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Tweeting the Bible: one chapter at a time

Ethel Ware Carter is tweeting the Bible 140 characters at a time here. So far:

Flights of doves and an olive branch. God remembers Noah in the "biblical sense" and smells the sweet savour of offerings. Genesis 8 #RCCAtl

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Study guide to For the Bible Tells Me So published

Christine Wicker, Huffington Post, thinks part of the problem that prevents open discussions about sex and God, in families and communities, is fear.

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No more Innkeeper in Bethlehem?

I still remember when, as I child, I first heard the Christmas gospel read from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible rather than King James. That year the angelic proclamation to the shepherds had a different ending than I was used to. I still notice the difference even though we use the NRSV these days.

Well, here's a similar and more substantive change to the traditional Christmas story being made:

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Bibles: Ancient and Modern

UPDATED:
Giles Fraser, in The Guardian, writes about the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible in A Fetish for the Bible. He pleads for protection from all those who would make an idol of this book:

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Dawkins likes the KJV

Richard Dawkins likes the poetry of the King James Bible.

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Musing about the KJV

James Naughtie writes,

The idea of a new translation was meant to be an instrument for sorting out the wild politics of the Church of England as much as it was a book that could be read aloud in every church, understood and even enjoyed. It turned out to be a stroke of kingly brilliance.

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We are not to worship the Bible

Do we worship God or the words about God? Is the Bible the Word of God, or is that Jesus? Christians have been working out their faith between those bounds throughout the history of the Church. Matt Idom in an essay does a neat job of framing the issue, talking about how believers and non-believers often end up talking to each other at cross purposes when it comes to thinking through the role of the biblical witness in the life of the Church.

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Bible talks about sex, a lot

Jennifer Wright Knust is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Boston University and an ordained American Baptist pastor. Her new book, Unprotected Texts: The Bible's Surprising Contradictions About Sex and Desire, has received play this week in the Washington Post, Newsweek, and CNN.

The links:

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Bishops: no more Biblical booty (shaking)

It is interesting how much time and energy are devoted to items such as this:

Bishops boot 'booty' from revised Bible
From the USAToday

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5 things you should know about the Bible

It's Lent, time to pick up the good book! Here are five things "everyone should know about the Bible."

Five Things Everyone Should Know About The Bible, Believe It or Not

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Gender neutral Bible criticized

AP reports that some are criticizing the 2011 edition of the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible

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Is the KJV still relevant?

As the King James Version celebrates its 400th anniversary, is its relevance and influence eroding?

A book that brought God closer
As The King James translation of the Bible marks its 400th anniversary, its deep influence and prominence are slipping.

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The Bible is dead; long live the Bible

Timothy Beal, writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education urges people to read the Bible for themselves and hear the variety of perspectives, many voices and richness of the various books:

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Believe it or not, you should read the Bible

Professor Kristin Swenson advises people to read the bible, even if you don't believe it.

My Take: Read the Bible, even if you don't believe it
By Kristin Swenson in CNN's BeliefBlog online

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Gwich'in New Testament: even colors are verbs

The Fairbanks NewsMiner notes the completion of the translation of the New Testament into the Gwich'in language:

The gold-lettered title of the plain-covered book reads “Vit’eegwijyahchy’aa: Vagwandak Nizii,” Gwich’in for, “God: His Good News.”

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King James Version: history and politics

Trinity Wall Street has been offering a study of the King James Version of the Bible. They have made two of the presentations from the classes available on the internet.

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Finding the authorative text of the O.T.

The idea that biblical texts have evolved over time, especially in the Old Testament, isn't terribly big news for most mainline denomination Christians. But it can be a challenge to people who hold an inerrantist view of scripture. Generally such a belief claims that the "original autograph" of the bible is the one that is truly inerrant. But as of yet no one had been able to work backwards through the methodology of textual criticism to find that authoritative version.

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How do Anglicans read the Bible?

One of the take-aways from controversies within the Anglican Communion is the recognition that there is no agreed upon Anglican method of "reading" Holy Scripture. That lack has frequently stymied attempts to get disagreeing bodies within the Communion to speak with each other about what the Bible is saying to the Church today.

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The Common English Bible and Anglican scholarship

ENS:

The hardest problems in biblical translation aren't about the English, they're about the Greek or the Hebrew, according to one Episcopalian involved in production of the new Common English Bible.

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Dead Sea scrolls available online

Anglican Journal reports on the high-tech photos of the Dead Sea Scrolls now available online:

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One woman's year of living biblically

The Guardian reports on Rachel Held Evans' experiment in living biblically:

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A Godless Bible?

Utne Reader reviews The Good Book: a humanist Bible.

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Recommended online resources for studying the Bible

With the explosion of resources of all sorts online, it would be of no surprise to anyone that there is a lot to find there (here) about the Bible. Dr. Stephen Cook of Virginia Theological Seminary pointed us to this list of great Bible resources online. Check them out, and suggest your own!

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400 years and counting: A King James party fit for the queen

A gaggle of Church of England clergy and English monarchy gathered in Westminster Abbey, London, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the institution of the King James Bible, The Guardian's Stephen Bates reports.

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Lego Bible removed from store because of "graphic content"

Sam's Club, responding to "numerous concerns" by parents and members has decided to pull the Lego Illustrated Bible from its store shelves. The complaints centered around the mature content that was contained in what was supposed to be a children's book.

The Christian Post reports:

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An annotated New Testament for practicing Jews

Two practicing Jews who are also New Testament scholars have published an annotated version of the New Testament that is meant to introduce Jewish readers to the texts.

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Jamaica's patois Bible: The word of God in creole

Robert Pigott writes in BBC News Magazine that the Bible is being translated for the first time in Creole. Some oppose the move, thinking learning and speaking English should be the priority, but many welcome it.

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Bible translators accused of deleting "Father" and "Son"

Yahoo News "breathlessly" reports that "New Arabic and Turkish translations of the Bible from three reputable North American Christian organizations are brewing controversy because they no longer contain the words "Father" and "Son" in the Holy Trinity. In addition, the phrase "Son of God" has been removed.

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National Geographic features King James Bible

The King James Bible is the subject of a National Geographic article by Adam Nicolson and picture gallery by Jim Richardson:

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On reading the Bible

Today's essay on the Daily Episcopalian has provoked a lot of comment.

The Rev. George Clifford says that perhaps reading the Bible indiscriminately and only as a devotional tool de-values the Bible, hurts the church, and inadequately prepares Christians.

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Jesus: top ten quotes

The Bible Guide Online proposes the top ten sayings of Jesus. Do you agree? What are your top ten?

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Revelation reflects Jewish/Christian tension

Most people have heard that the common scholarly reading of the The Book of Revelation understands it as a veiled critique of the political order of the end of the 1st Century. The apocalyptic genre was often used in that day to say what was not safe to say, to speak truth to power. But a new book by Elaine Pagel's argues that the critique was not of the Roman Empire, but of the Pauline Church's decision to allow Gentiles to become Christian.

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Edification for Pentecost: The Book of Acts in 3 Minutes

Inspiration for the Pentecost season-- The Book of Acts in 3 Minutes! I especially like the part where "God rocks the house, literally."

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One down, 65 to go.

Women at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Mesa, AZ, have spent the past seven months painstakingly painting and writing in calligraphy the pages of Genesis in an ambitious "scriptorium" project led by parishioner and medieval-art enthusiast Lee Kitts.

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ACC 15 acclaims Bible project

The Anglican Consultative Council, meeting in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand praises the Bible project:

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The Queen James Bible

A new edition of the Bible seeks to claify what the Bible actually says about homosexuality.

The Digital Journal reports:

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The Bible: the miniseries

A miniseries called The Bible, which was about the book of the same name, appeared on the History Channel and had a significant impact on my Twitter stream. Did you watch it? What did you think of it?

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Bible scholar foresees personalized scripture in the digital age

A leading Bible scholar in Britain asserts that digital editions of the Bible will enable readers to mix and match texts to create their own personal scriptures. From the Telegraph:

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The Bible re-tweeted.

Blogger Jana Riess tweeted every book of the Old and New Testaments. The Mormon author of “Flunking Sainthood” spent four years summarizing each book in 140 characters or less. These tweets have been complied into a book called “The Twible” (rhymes with Bible).

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Swearing on a Bible app?

Nassau Executive Mangano was sworn in to office using an iPad Bible app according to
Newsday:

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The rise of "Bible skeptics"

"The American Bible Society’s latest State of the Bible survey documents steep skepticism that the Good Book is a God book," writes Cathy Lynn Grossman of Religion News Service. She quotes Roy Peterson, president of the society, who cites "incredible change in just a few years' time.

Among the findings:

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No evidence "Gospel of Jesus Wife" was forged

The"Gospel of Jesus Wife" is not fraudulent, writes Lisa Wangsness of The Boston Globe. That's different than saying it is an authentic account of past events, which is a subject beyond my competency to determine, but it does put the controversial text back in play for students of the early church.

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Summer of Scripture '14!

Today is the kickoff for the Summer of Scripture in Madison, Wisconsin. Led by Jonathan Melton and Dorota Pruski, young adults from the University of Wisconsin Episcopal Student Center and St. Andrew's Church are teaming up to read the entire Bible in one summer:

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Read the Bible 101

Bishops Bible Elizabeth I 1569.jpgKelvin Holdsworth, provost of St Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow offers ideas for getting started reading the Bible.

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