Archive for March, 2013

Friday Fun – Undergraduate History

March 29, 2013

A tumbler with illustrations of poorly designed undergraduate history sentences. Amusing for us teachers, at least.

Justification Debate

March 29, 2013

Wright vs. White. If you like this sort of thing.

Future Education

March 29, 2013

In chart form, 7 Transformational concepts for 21st century education.

The Future of the University Library

March 28, 2013

A review of the new James B. Hunt library at North Carolina State. Is it the future or the past?

Howard Zinn

March 28, 2013

A dissection of Howard Zinn and the bad effects of his historiography.


March 28, 2013

This commentary on the New Press’s PR campaign for Michael Bellesiles’ new book is pretty forceful, and I think right. How a respected press can distort reality in order to make money (I assume that’s the goal) is a mystery to me. I’d be hesitant to publish anything with them if this is their style.

On Race

March 28, 2013

A helpful set of links on the most recent Douglas Wilson dust-up on race and slavery. If you’re interested in the topic, this can guide your reading. I personally find Wilson’s views problematic at several levels but the whole series of posts are worth reading.

Atheist Witness

March 28, 2013

This first hand account of an atheist doing his first public presentations of his “faith” is worth a read for insight into his thinking.

Best Colleges to Study the Bible

March 28, 2013

One list, based on not entirely clear criteria. They’re mostly quite good schools, but I know others that could easily fit on the list. FWIW.

On translation

March 27, 2013

Jim Hamilton on translations. I’m sympathetic to his point about intertextuality; learning the biblical languages helps here and a good formal equivalence translation can be a good tool too (I’m more squeamish about the term literal than he is!). Note for example the notion that we should use the “actual words they use” when translating “rather than paraphrasing them.” Here’s the rub – we are not using the actual words – we are using different words, in different languages, with different semantic ranges, connotations and even intertexutality. Look at the history of English Bible readings for an example of intertextuality within the KJV rather than biblical languages.

The point is that some intertextuality is not translatable – yet we still translate even when the semantic domain and connotations and more of words in two languages aren’t equivalent. So, I think I would be a bit more hesitant on this front. I think we are wiser to suggest a range of translations be used, including at least one good formal equivalence one; and I might even be willing to suggest it as our first choice. But maybe not for all readers, and certainly not for all purposes.

I do wonder if the idea of “points being scored” is a capitulation, at least at some level, to the idea of language being a power issue. I’m not willing to say that is always the case, so I think we would be wise not to turn this into a culture war front, or at least in only a minimal way.


I’m especially careful on the language of gender. If English had been formed differently (like some other languages) we wouldn’t have these debates about inclusive translations. And if English changes enough, we’ll stop having them again. I don’t think we’re there yet (and perhaps we won’t make it). But it seems to me that in parts of our English speaking world we’ve made a pretty serious shift. I’m not sure we can go all “language Amish” and still remain relevant. A couple of decades will help us know better.