Monday, 8 December 2008

Month 22 - Song of Songs

Just in time for Christmas we come to Song of Songs, arguably the best proof of the Bible's reliability that there is. After all, if you were going to make up a holy book you'd never put this collection of horny-but-odd poems in.

As with Ecclesiastes and Proverbs, Song of Songs (or Canticles as it's also known) features in a number of films, mainly those about Solomon. Indeed, whilst it's love poetry seems a little out of place in the Bible, it fits right into Hollywood's priorities.

Elsewhere, there are a number of online resources:Marcia Falk's commentary, Carl W. Ernst's introduction,'s introduction,'s new translation
And of course - Wikipedia. Plus you can read about all the rude bits here.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Month 21 - Ecclesiastes

Next session 24th November 7:30pm at 41 Linden Road. Hopefully I'll post some more on resources soon...

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Monday, 20 October 2008

Month 20 - Proverbs

This month marks the big two zero and it's time for Proverbs. Those of us in Open Heaven looked at Proverbs in the summer of 2007, and so I guess the talks from that summer could form part of the resources for this month. I say could, because I'm not sure how much we really "did" Proverbs, and how much we simply taught wisdom for the 21st century by cherry picking the odd verse here and there. (When, for example, we considered how we should discipline children no-one suggested, for example, that we should beat them with sticks). And don't get me started on the whole "when Solomon said..." thing. That's not to say it wasn't a good sermon series - it was. I'd just like to come at it a different way.

On the plus side it means I have a range of commentaries to consult, and there's even a decent film clip.

Anyway, it all kicks off at 7:30pm at 41 Linden Road on Monday 27th October. See you then.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Month 19 - Psalms

September's "Through the Bible in Five and a Half Years" is looking at Psalms - the longest book in the Bible, at least in terms of chapters. It's also where we find the halfway point in the Bible - although where, exactly, you mark it depends on whether you mean halfway in terms of number of pages, chapters, words or something else entirely. That we reach this landmark only nineteen sixty-sixths of the way through the course is testament to the fact that from here on in the books get shorter.

The session will start, as usual, at 7:30pm but it will be at our new house - 41 Linden Road - and hopefully Digory will be feeling sleepy.

Resources wise I only have a fairly old commentary on Psalms, but I want to come at the book from a different angle than the one we used with the history books. Still working on what that will be, but then there's still a month to go.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Satan in Job

Following on from last night's discussion, here is the link to the article I mentioned. I had completely mis-remembered it's thrust. In fact, the article is even more interesting than I'd remembered. I should add that it's author, Tyler Williams, is an evangelical Old Testament scholar who's somehow also part of the Willow Creek Network. Anyway here it is:

The Mysterious Appearance of “Satan” in English Translations of the Book of Job

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Month 18 - Job

Unabated by Digory Page's birth, Through the Bible in Five and a Half Years carries on this month with a look at Job. But there's a special guest in the chair - Stu Jesson.

Resources wise I'm going to leave it up to Stu - there's only a quarter of a film tha features Job anyway (De Oliveira's O Meu Caso), but I have it on good authority that there's going to be some Girard involved. The above image is one of the most challenging roles ever taken by famed Bible actor Gordon Bewes (he's out of the Good News).

And it's staying at our house - 41 Linden Road. Hopefully see you there.

Edit - Stu has found a Job clip from South Park.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Month 17 - Esther

The final session before I hand over to Stu for a month whilst Mel has our baby. 7:30pm at 41 Linden Road looking at Esther.

Not got much time to talk about resources, but I will point you towards the various posts I've written on Esther films over at Bible Films Blog. I'm going to use a clip or two.

Hopefully see you there.

Monday, 30 June 2008

Month 16 - Nehemiah

I'm posting this after the event as it seems a shame not to have a post for Nehemiah. So here it is.

One of the books I've been reading quite a bit for this session is David Weiss Halivni's "Revelation Restored". I actually wish I'd read it before the Ezra session.

The other thing to say about resources for Nehemiah is that in May I remarked that there's never been a movie made about Ezra. I did, however, trip over his appearance in the 1999 film Esther which I've made a few comments on at my Bible Films blog.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Month 15 - Ezra

May's Through the Bible in Five and a Half Years is looking at Ezra, a love it or hate it book about life after the Jewish Exile. There are no free Thursday's between now and the end of the month, so the new-group session will be on Wednesday 21st May from 7:45pm. The original group will be on Monday 26th May at 7:30. What better way to go finish a bank holiday weekend?

There are some useful extra resources for Ezra, namely the other books / chapters attributed to Ezra that are absent from Protestant Bibles. That may lead us into a discussion on canonicity. I'll be using all the usual favourites, and the Peter Ackroyd commentary I used briefly for I and II Chronicles also covers Ezra and Nehemiah.

Film-wise it appears that there's never been a movie made about Ezra. Not hugely surprising, but it means that for this month's image I've had to rely on a photo of the Behistun Inscription.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Change of Date / Time

The session on 2 Chronicles that was originally due to be tomorrow (Thursday 1st of May) has been changed to the following Wednesday (7th May). Also meeting at 7:45 for an 8 o'clock start. Sorry for the confusion hope you can still make it.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Month 14 - 2 Chronicles

Following on from last month we're covering 2 Chronicles this month. Resources will be largely the same, although I've picked up a couple of new ones as well so they will hopefully be useful. There's a useful table here plotting the reigns of the different kings and timings of the prophets and so on.

The Monday night group will be on 28th April, I think the other session will happen on the 1st May, although we're looking at an alternative date as a lot of the people who want to come can't make it. Watch this space (or, at least, the one to the right). Both sessions start at 5 Meadow Lane at 7:30. I know that for a while I've been saying that the next session might be the last at Meadow Lane, but this time I really think I mean it. I'm also looking to gradually move the sessions to slightly earlier in the month in case the baby is a few days early (he's due 1st August). In other news, the one and only Mr Stuart Jesson has kindly agreed to cover August's session for me, so that will be a treat for those who are around then.

New Resources

I picked up a couple of new resources that I'll be using for the remainder of the course, to give me a few different angles. 'The Bible Book:A User's Guide' is by my namesake Nick Page, author of the thought provoking 'And Now Let's Move into a Time of Nonsense' and the ultimately disappointing 'Church Invisible'. Page can be quite humorous at times, and the layout is pretty accessible. The other book is Douglas Connelly's 'The Bible for Blockheads'. I'm less familiart with Connelly, but like Page's book the majority of the text is given over to going through each book by book - a bit like the course.

I should point out that neither of these are particularly academic works, but a lot of thought has gone into how to present the information. Both are on offer at the Good News Centre at the moment.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Month 13 - 1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles marks the start of something new for "Through the Bible in Five and a Half Years". For those of us that have been doing this since the start, we're now a year through. I don't know about you guys, but it doesn't seem that long since we sat down to look at Genesis.

But it's also the start of a new group, so welcome to any of you guys who are joining us for the first time. Despite being the 13th book of the Bible, 1 Chronicles is actually quite a good place to start. It's obviously not quite as good as Genesis or Matthew, but there is something to be said for it. I'll say more about that at the sessions.

This month's sessions are happening as follows: Next Thursday 27th March, and the following Monday 31st March. Both kick off at 7:30 at 5 Meadow Lane. The idea is to keep the Monday group going as is, and starting the Thursday group up as fresh, so the content will be slightly different in two sessions to reflect that. By the time we hit Nehemiah, they'll be pretty much identical though.

In terms of resources, Chronicles is not the most over-done book. Other than the text itself there is also 2 Samuel which covers many of these events in its own way. In terms of commentaries there's Peter Ackroyd's on I and II Chronicles which also covers Nehemiah and Ezra. There's actually been a resurgence in interest in Chronicles in recent years so there are a good number of recent commentaries out there. Tyler Williams has a good list of them with some useful comments. Lionel Windsor's online notes are also useful.

Film-wise most films follow Samuel rather than Chronicles which tends to miss out the exploits of David's mighty men and focus on the affair with Bathsheba. There are two films in production about David so it will be interesting to see if either of them reverses the trend.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Month 12 - 2 Kings

February's Through the Bible in Five and a Half Years takes in 2 Kings, the last book in the so called Deuteronomic History. The session is on the 25th February at 5 Meadow Lane, starting at 7:30 as always.

Resources-wise I continue to recommend Genesis to Jesus for those just starting to get their heads around what's going on in this book in particular. I'll be using Hubbard's commentary again, although it wasn't quite as helpful as I'd hoped as well as the Wikipedia article.

But there is a real shortage of film's based on this book, which is strange for a book where there is so much story. I guess most Bible Films have drawn on stories people know from Sunday school as that boosts the likely audience, rather than looking for what might just make the best film overall. I'll probably write a longer article on that over at Bible Films Blog

There's also a useful Samuel, Kings and Chronicles harmony.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Month 11 - 1 Kings

2008 kicks off with a look at 1 Kings, still at 5 Meadow Lane, still at 7:30pm. The date, however, is 21st January (which is a week earlier than the date I gave out at the last session).

Resources-wise, I have to recommend the relevant chapters in Dave Burke's Genesis to Jesus. It's brief, and I probably would question the odd bit these days, but on reading it for the first time all those years ago it dropped a whole load of things into place, and started me down a particular road which has lead me to here.

I'll also be drawing on Hubbard's commentary. though at the moment I have no idea whether it'll be worthy of my attention.

Online material as ever includes the Wikipedia article. There's also a useful Samuel, Kings and Chronicles harmony.

Filmwise, there are only a couple and whilst the Bible Collection's Solomon doesn't get quite as embroiled in the story of the queen of Sheba, as 1959's Solomon and Sheba it still spends more time on that story than perhaps it should. There are also a few animated versions, although one of them is from the Simpsons. The others, though, are of Elijah perhaps the most criminally underfilmed story in the whole Bible. One is by the Testaments series, the other from Friends and Heroes. Finally there is an hilariously stiff and dated version of the Elijah story that appeared in the Living Bible series.