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  • Randall Short 10:02 pm on November 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Digging the Biblical World in Tokyo 

    If you happen to be in Tokyo this weekend and are interested in biblical archaeology (and understand Japanese), you might enjoy one or more lectures at this two-day seminar at Sophia University: 


    Excavating the Biblical World 
    The Current State of Biblical Archaeology

    Here’s more information in English and Japanese at Japanese Biblical Studies.

  • Randall Short 12:26 am on May 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Biblical Languages, Greek   

    New Testament Greek Studies in Japanese 

    If you read Japanese, or if you’re just interested in eccentricities, please take a look at my site for Japanese speakers studying New Testament Greek. The site is called Shinyaku Seisho Girishiago Kōza新約聖書ギリシア語講座).  

    I began with a series of videos in which I explain the exercise problems in the Japanese version of Jeremy Duff’s The Elements of New Testament Greek. Since I posted the first video about 3 weeks ago, the videos have been viewed for around 40 hours. That’s quite a bit more than I expected.

    Elements Girishiago

    This week I’ve begun a series of original short stories. I’m having my students write the stories in Japanese using only the vocabulary (list 1 and list 2) and grammar that they’ve learned so far. Then I translate the stories into Greek. The stories are simple, but they are a lot more fun to read than the exercises. It’s my first attempt to do extensive reading in New Testament Greek. Even if you don’t read Japanese, perhaps you can enjoy the Japanese-Greek stories.

    I’d be grateful for any help with getting the word out. You never know where you might find philhellenic Japanese. 

  • Randall Short 9:25 pm on December 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    New Issue of Old Testament Studies (in Japan) 

    At Japanese Biblical Studies, I’ve posted the English and Japanese titles of articles in the recent issue of Old Testament Studies, the journal of the Society for Old Testament Study in Japan. 

    Old Testament Studies 9 (2012)

    I also happen to have an article in this issue, which is based on a paper that I gave at the SOTSJ annual meeting in 2011. Take a look

  • Randall Short 6:14 am on August 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    A Window into New Testament Studies in Japan 

    It’s significant when a nation’s scholars in any given discipline get together. Next month, members of Japan’s small but active Society of New Testament Studies will gather for their two-day annual meeting in Nagoya, a large city in central Japan.

    If you would like to see what Japan’s New Testament scholars will be talking about at this year’s meeting, take a look at my translation of the paper titles. And if you happen to be a student or scholar of the New Testament, see if you recognize any of the names (especially among the moderators, who are mostly senior scholars).

    Nagoya CastleA Japanese painting from Nagoya Castle in Nagoya, Japan

  • Randall Short 10:40 am on July 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Online Resources for Research in Japan 

    Japan’s National Institute of Informatics (NII) has a very helpful site for doing research in Japan, about Japan, and about practically anything else. The site is GeNii – NII Scholarly and Academic Information Portal.

    I’m especially interested in using GeNii for research in biblical studies, but GeNii’s resources are essential for any discipline’s students and scholars who wish to benefit from Japanese research.

    GeNii 学術コンテンツ・ポータル

  • Randall Short 9:14 am on July 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Japanese Biblical Studies: for the Church, Academy, and World 

    My new blog, Japanese Biblical Studies, is all about biblical studies by and/or for Japanese.

    JapaneseNewInterconfBiblePhoto by Yoshi Canopus

    The first post, Introducing Japanese Biblical Studies, lists my 6 categories:

    • News
    • Publications
    • People
    • Education
    • Pop Culture
    • Nota Bene

    I usually encourage my kids and students to keep in mind a particular audience when they write. I’m still working on that. 

    Who do you think might be interested?

  • Randall Short 11:20 am on March 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: biblical studies, conference, sbl   

    Wordling the SBL’s 2011 Annual Meeting 

    Later this year, the Society of Biblical Literature will hold its annual meeting in San Francisco. Here are two Wordles I created from the program unit descriptions.*

    2011 SBL Program Units Wordle 1

    2011 SBL Program Units Wordle 2

    It’ll be interesting to see Wordles of the actual paper titles, but we’ll have to wait a few more months for that.

    Any surprises so far?

    *Note that I lowed all caps, and I deleted these words from the Wordle: also, among, annual, bible, biblical, call, contact, description, e.g, first, group, meeting, one, open, paper, papers, program, programs, proposals, provide, provides, research, sbl, scholars, second, section, seek, seeks, session, studies, study, third, three, topic, topics, two, unit, within

  • Randall Short 12:00 pm on April 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    The Death of Scripture and the Rise of Biblical Studies 

    This book offers a new account of the origins of biblical studies, illuminating the relation of the Bible to churchly readers, theological interpreters, academic critics, and people in between. It explains why, in an age of religious resurgence, modern biblical criticism may no longer be in a position to serve as the Bible’s disciplinary gatekeeper.

    This is how Oxford University Press describes The Death of Scripture and the Rise of Biblical Studies by Michael Legaspi (Assistant Professor of Theology at Creighton University). You can find the publisher’s full description of the book, as well as brief reviews by Gary Anderson (Notre Dame), Walter Moberly (Durham), and Jon D. Levenson (Harvard), at OUP’s website.

    I predict that Michael Legaspi’s book will quickly rise to the top of “must read” lists for people who have academic interests in the Bible. But I think it will also be highly relevant for anyone else who wonders about the many ways people approach the Bible in modern times (and postmodern times, if you like). I make these predictions not only based on the impressive endorsements Legaspi’s book is already receiving, but also based on discussions with, and presentations by, the author about parts of the book.

    And that’s why I strongly recommend this book. I’m about to place my own order here (my Amazon link).


    Johann David Michaelis’s Latin edition of Robert Lowth’s Lectures on the Sacred Poetry of the Hebrews (De sacra poesi Hebraeorum praelectiones; 1758, 1761). Among other discussions, Legaspi explains how this publication played an important role in scholars’ reconceiving “divinely inspired Scripture” as sublime literature that should be approached according to the same methods scholars used when studying classical texts from the ancient world.

    • AMBurgess 4:30 am on May 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I’m so excited to get my hands on this book. The unresolved tension between religious faith and academia is in need of a push forward, and I have no doubt Mike Legaspi’s book is exactly what’s called for. I also think it’ll be a perfect template for understanding all sorts of issues surrounding faith and modernity. It would be great to see a lot of colleges making it required reading.

    • Delia Guevarra 1:09 pm on June 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      The best book on the subject , It uncovers the past , the origins of the bible , the controversy and how it applies now . Any Theology student in the Seminary or for anyone searching for historical truth this book is amazing

  • Randall Short 5:20 pm on March 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    The Surprising Election and Confirmation of King David – Summary and Keywords 

    In my first post about my new book, I posted statements by a couple of well-known and a couple of anonymous biblical scholars. For my second post, I’d like to post here the summary that Harvard University Press used in their catalog (both online and in their Spring/Summer 2010 print catalog). It’s also the summary that vendors like Eisenbrauns and Amazon picked up (with lightning speed, I might add) when HUP started promoting my book online.

    Some of the best-known biblical episodes are found in the story of David’s rise to kingship in First and Second Samuel. Why was this series of stories included in the Bible?

    An answer that has become increasingly popular is that this narrative should be interpreted as the “apology of David,” that is, the personal justification of King David against charges that he illegitimately usurped Saul’s throne. Comparisons between “the History of David’s Rise” and the Hittite “Apology of Hattušili,” in particular, appear to support this view that the biblical account belongs to the genre of ancient Near Eastern royal apology.

    Having presented this approach, Randall Short argues that the biblical account has less in common with the Hittite apology than scholars have asserted, and he demonstrates how interpretive assumptions about the historical reality behind the text inform the meaning that these scholars discern in the text. His central contention is that this story should not be interpreted as the personal exoneration of David composed to win over suspicious readers. Rather, composed for faithful readers represented by David, the story depicts the dramatic confirmation of David’s surprising election through his gradual emergence as the beloved son of Jesse, Saul, all Israel, and YHWH Himself.


    The main purpose of a summary in a print catalog, of course, is to give readers a good idea of what the book is about. But online summaries have a purpose that is equally important. They draw people who are running searches on the key words and phrases to the website and let them know about the book in the first place.

    I would love to see what search strings bring people to my book’s site at Harvard University Press, Amazon, and the like. One problem with summaries, though, is that they don’t include — and can’t include without becoming nearly unreadable — many of the key terms and phrases that a lot of people among my intended readers are likely to be Googling and Binging.

    So, in the interests of reaching as wide an audience as possible, and hoping that you won’t be disappointed if your online search of any of the below terms brought you here, I offer a mini-index of keywords and phrases that somehow relate to my book. This, too, is rather limited, but I hope it’s skim-worthy and, more importantly, search-worthy.


    Interested in Any of the Following? Then please check out The Surprising Election and Confirmation of King David:

    Biblical figures and themes: King David, King Saul, the Prophet Samuel, Davidic Covenant, David’s Anointing, Divine Election, Divine Rejection, Davidic King and Kingdom, Kingship in Israel and Judah

    Texts and corpuses: Books of Samuel, Historical Books of the Bible, the Former Prophets, Nevi’im, Nebi’im, Historical Psalms, Tanakh, Masoretic Text (MT), Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS), Hebrew Bible, Old Testament; Samuel Commentary

    Critical sources, extra-biblical texts, etc.: History of David’s Rise (HDR), Apology of David, Ancient Israelite Royal Propaganda, Apology of Hattusili, Apology of Hattushilish, Hittite Empire, Ancient Near Eastern Apologies, ANE, Deuteronomist, Deuteronomistic, Dtr, Original Context, Final Form

    Modern Scholarly Approaches: Historical Critical Scholarship, Historical Criticism, Source Criticism, Redactional Criticism, Rhetorical Criticism, Ideological Criticism, Tradition Criticism, Canonical Criticism, Literary Criticism, Comparative Criticism, Theological Interpretation, Biblical Interpretation, Biblical Exegesis

    Scholars and works: P. Kyle McCarter, “The Apology of David” (JBL), and I Samuel (Anchor Bible); Baruch Halpern, David’s Secret Demons: Messiah, Murderer, Traitor, King; Steven L. McKenzie, King David: A Biography; James W. Flanagan, David’s Social Drama: A Hologram of Israel’s Early Iron Age; Harry A. Hoffner, “Propaganda and Political Justification in Hittite Historiography.”

    • Ed Gentry 10:41 pm on March 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Congratulations Randall. Well done. So yet another to add to my list of books to read.

    • Randall Short 11:36 am on March 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Ed! It’ll be an honor to be on an old friend’s reading list!

    • AMBurgess 4:36 am on May 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I’m going to have to order this book, Randall. It looks great.

  • Randall Short 3:15 pm on February 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    What They’re Already Saying About My Book 

    I’ve thought about things I can do to build some anticipation around the launching of my first book, The Surprising Election and Confirmation of King David (Harvard Theological Studies). It won’t be out until May, so I have a few months to go. For instance, I could have a lot of fun making a book trailer, and a trailer for a dissertation-turned-into-book might even create some buzz. But I’m afraid I don’t have the right set of skills to pull it off.


    I’ll start, instead, by letting others speak for me. The fact is, very few people have read my book so far — it’s not out yet, after all. But I’m happy to say that the people who’ve read it are experts about these things, and they had some very positive and encouraging things to say.

    Jon D. Levenson was my doctoral advisor at Harvard Divinity School. According to this most trustworthy source that professors just love for their students to cite, he is “the most interesting and incisive biblical exegete among contemporary Jewish thinkers.” Professor Levenson had this to say about my book:

    This provocative and well-reasoned interpretation of David’s rise to kingship challenges the standard political reading of the narrative and impressively recovers its key theological dimensions. By refusing to assimilate the text to its putative ancient Near Eastern parallels, Randall Short enriches our understanding of an exceedingly subtle and complex narrative in a valuable way. This volume should command the attention of scholars, students, and clergy alike.

    Recent books by my doctoral advisors
    resurrection-levenson.jpg sin-anderson.jpg
    Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel by Jon D. Levenson
    and Sin: A History by Gary A. Anderson

    Gary A. Anderson was also my advisor at Harvard until he moved to the University of Notre Dame. But even after his move, he continued to advise me by serving on my dissertation committee. At some point I expect the above-cited source to describe him as “the most interesting and incisive biblical exegete among contemporary Catholic thinkers” (he’s a little younger than Prof. Levenson, so give it time). Professor Anderson offered this statement:

    It is not frequent that a book comes along and proposes a bold new approach to a problem that was once thought to be solved. Short’s bold and deftly argued thesis about the founding of the Davidic Kingdom is going to mark a new direction for the exegesis of I and II Samuel.

    I’m indebted to and grateful for these men, and I’m deeply honored to have them evaluate my work so highly.

    Let me share comments about my work by two more scholars. I don’t know their names because the comments were from two anonymous reviewers of my manuscript at an early stage in Harvard Theological Studies’ review process. The below statements came to me along with several constructive criticisms that helped me to make a number of improvements.

    One reviewer said this about my manuscript in general:

    [Short’s book] has a clear and important thesis to put forward on an important text and issue in Hebrew Biblical studies, and everything, so far as I can see, is very well arranged around the definition, exposition, and substantiation of this thesis, in a style that is lucid, direct, and precise: few, if any solecisms or baroque formulations typical of dissertations. It makes its case by a serious critique of one standard view of the History of David’s Rise (HDR), and then by a penetrating, closely observed analysis of facets of the literary techniques and themes of the HDR . . .

    And another reviewer said this about my chapters 4 and 5:

    I have found his analyses of the individual verses to be detailed and reasonable. The impression that Short’s text gives is that he attends to the interpretation of individual verses or texts with great care.

    Andover Hall, Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts

    I don’t mean to imply that my advisors and reviewers agree with me about every position I take. That is certainly not the case, but no one who knows the field of biblical studies would expect it to be.

    I am extremely pleased, though, that these scholars all agree on this point: You’ll benefit from reading my book if you have any interest in Samuel’s account of David’s rise to kingship in particular and/or modern biblical scholarship in general.

    • Ken Brown 3:56 am on March 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      That’s great news indeed. Congrats!

      (BTW, I love that the social media buttons on your posts say “Share and Enjoy”; I just hope they work better than a typical Sirius Cybernetics Corporation product!)

    • Randall Short 10:10 am on March 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you!

      I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I haven’t tested the social media buttons here. If they weren’t there by default, I must have turned them on and left it at that. I just switched on a few more buttons, including one for Twitter; I’ll test the ones I can (I don’t use most of them).

    • Nathan 12:25 pm on March 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I assume you’re putting Cambridge on the book tour…

    • Randall Short 9:45 pm on March 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Now that would be nice. Unfortunately no plans just yet. But I’ll try to schedule it when I hear from one of the big talk shows offering to cover my international travel expenses…

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