We’re all authors, aren’t we?

The NY Times says to this generation plagiarism is no big deal.

“Now we have a whole generation of students who’ve grown up with information that just seems to be hanging out there in cyberspace and doesn’t seem to have an author,” said Teresa Fishman, director of the Center for Academic Integrity at Clemson University. “It’s possible to believe this information is just out there for anyone to take.”

the idea of an author whose singular effort creates an original work is rooted in Enlightenment ideas of the individual. It is buttressed by the Western concept of intellectual property rights as secured by copyright law. But both traditions are being challenged.

“Our notion of authorship and originality was born, it flourished, and it may be waning,” Ms. Blum said.

What do you think?


Once or twice a month wordpress makes you log back in.  You have to sign in with your username and password.

If you don’t see the line at the top that says My Account/My Dashboard/New Post, etc., type biot500.wordpress.com/admin

You have to add the word /admin, then it will ask you to sign in with your username and password, and you will be good for another couple of weeks.

OT Parallels

Well, we have about a week until we meet on campus, and you are wondering what to do with all your free time until then.

Each of you will present a report in class on one of the parallel documents from Old Testament Parallels, which is one of your other text books.   So, you can use the time to browsing in the book and selecting your ancient document.

Some of you may be familiar with the book Grasping God’s Word.  Several of the early chapters in that book emphasize the importance of observing what is there in the text.  Use a high-lighter, underline, circle things, make lists of key words, repetitions, turning points, imagery, figurative language, etc.

That’s what I recommend you do with the passage you choose from OT Parallels.  Photocopy the passage and mark it up.  Make all the observations you can, then do the same with a parallel passage from the Bible.  The book, OT Parallels lists plenty of cross-references, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding a biblical passage for comparison.

Pay attention to similarities and differences, compare and contrast.  Often there are surface similarities in wording, but there are important underlying conceptual differences.

The third textbook, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament may also be helpful in prompting your thinking and identifying important parallel documents.

Next week on campus I will want you to look at some other sources of ancient literature from the Biblical world.  There are alternate translations and editions with notes and introductions.  There is also quite a bit online, especially of some of the famous literature like Gilgamesh and Hammurabi.

Your on-campus assignment will be to give a 10-minute report on your OT parallel.  The report does not have to be written, but you might want to include a visual aid or handout.

We will also be discussing some of the issues in Walton’s ANE Thought and the OT.

See you next week–and bring your hiking shoes.

Hebrew Alphabet

Some of you have asked which version of the Hebrew alphabet you should learn.  Since our main goal is to be able to look things up, you should learn the standard printed alphabet, the “Block” letters on the Akhlah site and the Hebrew Note Cards site that Brian found (See “Check this out“).

You just need to learn the consonants, not the vowel points (go ahead and learn them if you wish, though).  You will notice that some sites list “bet” and “vet” as separate letters–the first with a dot in the middle, the second without the dot.  Just learn the letter as “bet” with or without the dot.  You will notice the same feature with “kaf” and “peh”.

However, you should learn both the regular and the “sofit” (final) forms for kaf, mem, nun, peh, and tsade.  Note also that ‘sin’ and ‘shin’ are two different letters, distinguished by the dot on the left or right shoulder of the letter.

If this seems too confusing, don’t worry too much about it.  Just try to know the basics when you get to class, and we will talk about the minor details and variation.

By the way, I don’t recommend getting a Hebrew tattoo.  It might be offensive to Jews, since there is a command in Leviticus against it (although, most understand that those commands don’t apply to Gentiles) and it will make you a target if you ever travel in Arab lands.  (I recently heard from a student who is visiting Lebanon that she has to keep hers covered up.)

But on the other hand, who am I to question Britney’s judgment?

(Photo from HebrewTattooNet)

The Bible on One Page

Bible on One Page

Bible on One Page '08

New Testament on One Page

Above are two examples of “The Bible on One Page.”

The second is actually the “New Testament on One Page.”  I have used this assignment before on a Critical Introduction to the New Testament course.

The Assignment for BIOT500 at KCU is a creative assignment.  You have the responsibility to choose what information you think is important and how to present it.  I suggest you use the textbook, Old Testament Introduction, but you are free to use any additional resources you choose.

The Visual Aid should be one you could use in teaching to give a historical overview of the Bible.  You should show what the essence of each book is and how the books fit together and relate to each other.

Here are some other examples: I have had students use a large map of the Bible world and pin little flags on it with information about books, authors, etc.

Some of the information I think is important includes the following:

Date of events in the book (or fitting events on a time line), date of writing or final editing of the book, genre and literary features, theme or main idea; canonical grouping; e.g. Law, Prophets, Writings; or Law, History, Poetry, Prophets.

How would you display this information:

Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and Micah all lived in the 8th century before Christ–the century when the Assyrian Empire threatened Judah (the Southern Kingdom) and eventually destroyed the Northern Kingdom in 722 BC.  Isaiah and Micah were from Judah in the South and prophesied to Judah.  Hosea was from Israel and prophesied to Israel.  Amos journeyed up north from Judah to Israel and prophesied to the Northern Kingdom.  Amos and Hosea gave the final warning to Israel.  All of these prophets emphasized faithfulness to God and justice and compassion to one’s neighbors.  They condemned idolatry, which they considered spiritual adultery; and they condemned oppression and injustice.

Later, at the end of the 7th century, Ezekiel and Jeremiah, borrowed Hosea’s marriage and adultery imagery as a way of portraying Judah’s spiritual condition.

The prophets used visual aids.  They even used their family’s as dramatic or visual aids.  Isaiah and Hosea gave symbolic names to their children.  Jeremiah’s single-status, and Ezekiel’s loss of his wife had symbolic meanings.

The prophets used vivid poetic images: Amos and his plumb line, Ezekiel and his organic bread, Isaiah’s image of people beating their swords into plowshares and of the wolf lying down with the lamb . . .

That’s a lot of information–you don’t have to use all of it–but there are many creative ways you could present it.

My wife and I once made a project to teach the books of the Bible to elementary-aged kids.  We made a little bookshelf and then used blocks of wood  (Approx 1″ X 3″ X 4″) and labeled them.  We also color-coded the different divisions: law, prophets, etc.

Share your ideas with each other!

Responses to the Second Challenge?


OK, we have had a couple responses to the Second Challenge, and they were good answers.  But there were about 10 Q’s in the Second Challenge–there are still several left to be answered.

Under “Pages” if you click on “Reading Schedule and Assignments” you will find a list of links to these assignments and challenges I’ve been posting.  It may be easier to find them that way than just scrolling down.

Let’s Get Acquainted with Jeremiah

The book of Jeremiah is a very interesting book and a very important part of the Bible.  It also illustrates many of the issues we will deal with in this class.  So let’s get acquainted with Jeremiah, the prophet and the book.  You might start by reading the first two or three chapters.

By the way, I’m still looking for a few more comments on the “First Challenge.”