I’m not too sure what to think about all the doom and gloom over on the Twitter regarding its hastening demise.
But it seems the new owner’s firing of many of the people who keep the lights on combined with many others choosing to leave (here I think of folks there on H1B visas who really don’t have an option; they’re stuck) has sealed the fate of the site.
And this pisses me off.
I mean, I think there will be some form of Twitter that sticks around. Maybe it’ll go dark for awhile. But whatever survives, I’m not sure it will be the same.
I researched and wrote books, tweeting about them the whole time. I got gigs because of Twitter. I laughed. I mean, @BethMoore is there.
Most importantly, I had community on Twitter. I don’t mention it much, but being a parent of special needs kids (autism, ADHD, and other things) during the pandemic SUCKED. Leaving our church sucked. It was isolating. It IS isolating. But Twitter opened the curtains a bit and let a little light shine in.
I’m not signing out of Twitter or deleting my account (@RickBrannan, of course). But I know Twitter will change. And I’m guessing the turbo hardcore workplace that Musk seems bent on trying to initiate will be focused on wringing money from users, which means the atmosphere of the place will be completely different.
I’ve posted writing schedules in the past (2016 through 2019 and 2021). For some reason, I didn’t do it for 2020. But it’s time again to try and sketch things out and make some plans for how to spend my research and writing time in 2022. For those unaware, this is how I plan to spend my own personal time, there is no connection here with my day job for Faithlife, makers of Logos Bible Software. That’s a totally different set of priorities and responsibilities.
First off, I’m super pumped to have finished and published Fragments of Christianity in July of 2021 (Amazon $24.95; Logos $12.99 preorder). I have some ideas for a follow-up (i.e. more “early” papyri, several of which are transcribed and translated already), but I don’t know that I’ll get to that in 2022, but maybe I’ll find time to sketch an outline or something.
Second, in early 2021, I was invited to contribute the volumes on the Shepherd of Hermas for the forthcoming Baylor Handbook of the Apostolic Fathers. After thinking and crunching the numbers a bit, I decided to do it. I started in earnest on that in the summer and fall, working through variations in the Greek texts. I’m currently examining intertextual references with the LXX and NT as well as topical and lexical cross-references (about 1/3 through) and hope to have that pass complete in early 2022. My next step will be reading a bunch of literature and integrating necessary references in my textual and intertextual notes to have it all in one place when I start to write, which I hope will be sometime in 2022 (summer, maybe?) Hermas is huge, and I only have 160K words (two volumes) which includes Greek text and translation, so it will definitely be a handbook on the Greek (and Latin!) text, not an exhaustive/comprehensive commentary proper. I’m going to be working on this one for awhile; my goal at present is to have the whole thing submitted and accepted by the time my daughter graduates high school. She finishes her freshman year in July 2022.
Which brings me up to my next bit of news: I’ll be taking a Latin class starting at the end of January, pending enough people register. The class goes for 10 weeks. I’ve been in fake-it-til-you-make-it land in Latin (and other languages), and it seems it is time for me to just dig in. In a perfect world, I’ll have a few classes of Latin in (3-4?) by the time I need to write the Latin portions of the Hermas handbook.
But life will not be all Hermas and Latin in 2022. Nope, I’m also under contract to Lexham Press, along with three other editors, to produce translations of various Old Testament Pseudepigrapha works for a collected edition. My focus is mainly on fragmentary items (e.g. some Orphica, Theodotion, Ezekiel the Tragedian, Fragments from Epic Poets, Artapanus, Eupolemus, etc.) plus the Testament of Solomon (which is WILD) and some of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. And other stuff. I’ve done the basic work on translations, so in 2022 I’ll be reviewing/revising that, working on bibliography stuff, revising and updating some introductions, and edit/review passes on the stuff the other editors have done. I’ll probably take a break from Hermas in the spring (before starting actually writing, after working through tons of literature) to focus on this project.
The year seems pretty full. But I’m guessing I’ll also need a diversion, particularly in the fall and winter. So if I do, at least at this point, I’m thinking about starting work on another Greek reader edition. Which writing? This time I think I’ll do the Protevangelium of James. It is a great story, tangential to lots of canonical material, and has perpetual interest. I’ll need to establish an edition of the text (likely Tischendorf’s but I’ll have to see what other textual evidence has become available) and then work on a translation, likely revising the translation from the Ante-Nicene Fathers. These reader editions (currently I have readers for the First Apocryphal Apocalypse of John and the Acts of Pilate with the Descent of Christ to Hades) are priced low ($9.95) and are perpetual sellers for me. Not huge or anything (I’m definitely not getting rich on these) but maybe if I’m lucky I can take my wife out to lunch every few months (at least while the kids are in school and we don’t need to worry about childcare).
It’s possible I might have an SBL paper in there (thinking about something probably Hermas related, which in my experience is a tough section to get a paper accepted in). If that actually happens (and if I can do it virtually, because as much as I’d like to be in Denver in 2022, I’m not sure I’ll be able to), then I’ll need to eek out the time.
That’s all I can forsee about my 2022 research and writing schedule at this point. I have one other “maybe” project in there, but it is too tenuous to even mention. I’ll let you know if for some reason it jumps up in priority.
As I sit to write this, it is the afternoon of December 24, 2021. We’ve received Christmas cards and letters from friends, but in typical Brannan fashion, we’ve not written any letters or printed any photo cards to send. And this is the rhythm of our lives.
Before we go too far, here’s a picture from January 2021. It is perhaps the only family selfie in which all of our faces are visible, and everyone has something resembling a smile. I think it is my favorite picture of the entire year, taken at West Beach on Whidbey Island (Oak Harbor, Washington, at Joseph Whidbey State Park).
After Amy took it (and I saw it) I said something like: “Well, there’s our Christmas card photo. We don’t have to worry about getting one for the rest of the year, because that’ll never happen again.”
And while you think I may have been joking, I really wasn’t. Yes, I did intend some humor, but I was also totally forthright. The chances of us getting another picture with all of us in the frame and with some semblance of a smile were pretty slim. I mean, we even had some professional pics done in the fall, and didn’t get near this level of goodness (no slight to the photographer, it was a tough assignment and she did get some excellent shots!)
See, you might not know it from looking at us (especially that sweet picture up there where everything looks super normal and happy) but there’s a lot going on in our little family. We have several diagnoses that impact daily life (ADHD and Autism among others) as well as family members who experience chronic pain and discomfort for a number of reasons. It all ends up meaning that our lives are lived pretty much with very consistent, patterned days with lots of regularity and no surprises. When something disrupts that schedule (read: Daylight Savings Time, Christmas break, late wake-up, miss normal screen time, etc.) then disregulation reigns in our house and the attitudes and volumes are raised well past eleven.
If we’re lucky, that’s it. But sometimes (frequently?) it snowballs into an avalanche of disregularion and everyone is loud and frustrated with everyone else. It all compounds to bringing us (me and Amy) to a point at the end of the day when kids are in bed and the house is quiet, and we revel in the quietness. It is the most important thing. It is the most refreshing thing. And we let pretty much nothing interrupt it. It is the time where Amy and I can actually talk without being interrupted by anything. It is the time where I am able to focus and read, write, and research.
Amy and I don’t spend that time writing Christmas letters or sending Christmas cards. Maybe we should. But we’ve learned to set that time apart to do what refreshes us, because we know we will need the energy the next day because the circus of disregulation will start all over again.
What am I saying and why am I writing this? I really appreciate seeing folks’ Christmas cards, photos, and letters. I feel super guilty for not responding and sharing the fun things that happened and sweet family photos. But know that every day is pretty much the same for us, if we break the consistency we pay for it.
We wish you all a super duper Merry Christmas and an exceedingly Happy New Year!
Having a “milestone” birthday during these days of COVID-19, with social distancing, masking, and the like is pretty sucktastic. I mean, I wouldn’t have a big to-do anyway (not my speed) but I feel like doing something. So last week (Oct. 1) on the Twitter (@RickBrannan is my account), I offered the following:
It’s October 1, so you know what that means, folks. My birthday is ONE WEEK from today. Moving from “seven sevens” to the Jubilee. No huge celebration planned. #ThanksCovid So throw your own party in my honor, read some Greek (or a translation), and drink some good local [beer emoji]
Title:Fragments of Christianity: Fragmentary Witnesses to Early Christian Liturgies, Hymns, Homilies, and Prayers Author: Rick Brannan Price: $24.95 from Amazon, locally available from Amazon UK, DE, AU, JP, and other Amazon sites. Purchase from Amazon
What were early Christians like? How did they worship? How did they pray? How did they preach? Brannan sifted through volumes of papyrological evidence to provide transcriptions and translations of examples of prayers, homilies, hymns, liturgies, and theological treatises, each with an introduction and brief discussion. These fragmentary examples of Christian material provide a link to the people who created them and who practised their religion with them. They are direct evidence of the practice of Christianity. They date from as early as the second century through the fifth century. These papyri provide a glimpse into the lives and practice of early Christians.
While that information is useful, as an interactive resource it is not able to be easily accessed or linked to other resources. And since we wanted to pull manuscript information into Factbook, we needed something different.
We also wanted to provide page-level links to manuscript images indexed to Bible reference.
That sentence doesn’t make much sense. Let me try again. We wanted to be able to search for a reference (e.g. Mark 1:41) and list images one could browse at the NTVMR with links straight to the images. We wanted to provide something like the below, showing the 278 manuscript pages indexed to Mark 1:41 with links directly to the page at the NTVMR.
We’ve created similar resources for the Septuagint (LXX) and the Hebrew Bible, but unfortunately there isn’t nearly the available page-level data for these corpora (Hats off to the NTVMR folks!). So we’ve made page-level references where data was available (LXX Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) and incorporated manuscript-level references to other manuscripts where data is available.
Hebrew Bible stuff is different from Greek NT or LXX because we (Logos) have transcriptions of all of the biblical scrolls, and many of the scroll fragments have images published on the web. So for the Hebrew Bible we have links to the transcriptions in Logos and available images at official sites.
But the big gain here is this information is now accessible in Factbook. We all know we can look up what “1Q1 Gen” is if we have the right resource open, or if we do a search across the library. But now, because it is all accessible from Factbook, you don’t have to remember which book or series to open to look. Just open Factbook and type in “1q1 gen”, and see what happens.
Now when you run across a reference to an NT, LXX, or Hebrew Bible manuscript, you just need to open the Factbook and look. You can read the article in Factbook’s Key Article section, or click the link to read it in the relevant manuscripts resource. We’re hoping this incorporation of manuscript information in Factbook makes it easier to follow up on questions about manuscripts you may encounter after reading technical commentaries or consulting textual apparatuses.
We have some ideas about how to integrate these manuscript resources even further with existing apparatuses (particularly of the GNT and LXX). No promises, but hopefully we’ll be able to make manuscript data even more accessible from the apparatuses themselves. Cross your fingers.
[Note: all screen captures taken using Verbum, the version of Logos Bible Software customized for Catholic users; features and data discussed are the same between Logos and Verbum.]
One of the best-kept secrets (in a bad way) of tools in Logos Bible Software is the Bible Sense Lexicon (BSL). It is unfortunate because the BSL is this great tool that provides a cross-linguistic sense analysis of every instance of every noun, verb, adjective, and adverb in the Hebrew Bible and the Greek New Testament. But outside of in-passage mention (where it is available in a context window or by link) it is pretty hard to find, especially if you’re starting with a lemma.
We did some evaluation and figured out that we could use the BSL information to aggregate sense data by lemma and provide the skeleton of a lexicon. Even better: The BSL has been localized into all of the core language editions of Logos Bible Software, so if we could figure out what to do with the English, we’d get six more languages for basically free. Here’s an example of the Lexham Research Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, in English, Spanish, and Korean.
Focusing on the English, there are a few things to note. The material drawn from the BSL is “peaceful (whole) — characterized by …” Before that material, we have part of speech and generalized gloss as well as, where applicable, equivalent Hebrew lemmas based on an analysis of available reverse interlinear data. Sometimes there will also be a link to the Lexham Theological Wordbook.
The references listed (in this case) are all the available instances of this sense+lemma combination. We also list a snippet of context in the original language (Greek here) in an interlinear view (only English and Spanish; other languages do not have the data available to support the interlinear view). Don’t worry, the interlinear is customizeable and you can turn off the gloss line if you’d like (using the aleph/omega button in the toolbar). The context given in the snippet is based on propositional data from the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament. We select appropriate example references to list based on an analysis of Important Words data.
After this, for the New Testament, there are references of the same word from the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament). These reference listings (and the alternate corpus listings underneath it) are based on an analysis of existing Greek lexica and the manner in which they cite non-New Testament material.
After this we have the Commentary Articles section, which has listings of commentaries where the lemma is discussed. These listings are based on an analysis of all available commentaries with Greek or Hebrew words (or transliterations; presently over 8,300 commentaries are analyzed). We’re basically leveraging existing data here. Logos has had a Lemma in Passage feature that analyzes commentaries and tags lemmas where discernable. This is combined with information from another feature (Important Words) to determine which words are more significant in a passage. We then put the dots together to locate discussions in commentaries where the current lemma is important, and list the best scoring items.
We also have implemented a Journal Articles section that does similar things, only for Journals. This is based on a similar (in-development) analysis of over 3,700 journals for original language discussions. Not quite sure where the journal data is going yet, but this seemed to be an appropriate use of the data to surface Journal articles relevant to the lexicon article lemma.
The Lexham Research Lexicon of the Hebrew Bible is similarly organized. It also uses an interlinear view of example references (though only for the English), with contextual selections based on an analysis of the cantillation marks of the Hebrew Bible. Entries for verb are broken up further by verb stem. In the screen capture below, note the term reflecting the lemma of the entry is black and the other words are a lighter shade of grey, making it easier to determine the word related to the article even if the gloss line is not present.
Note we have also created the Lexham Research Lexicon of the Aramaic Portions of the Hebrew Bible. The structure is the same as that of the Hebrew Bible volume.
The Bible Sense Lexicon (BSL) analysis is only of the Greek New Testament and the Hebrew Bible. We have not, as yet, analyzed the Septuagint (and we do not presently have plans to do so). But we do have a fair amount of lexical data for the Septuagint, so we also created a (slightly different) Lexham Research Lexicon of the Septuagint. We presently have only created a lexicon for English users as we have not yet curated and localized some key Septuagint data in other languages.
For words that also occur in the Greek New Testament, the article in the Lexham Research Lexicon of the Septuagint shows much of the same data, only without the senses from the BSL. The Commentary Articles are drawn from commentaries on Old Testament books but which mention Greek in their discussions. There are no Journal Articles sections in the Septuagint volume.
We’re really excited about the Lexham Research Lexicons and their availability (for GNT, Hebrew Bible, and Aramaic) not only in English but also in Spanish, Korean, Portuguese, Chinese (Simplified) and Chinese (Traditional). The early feedback from beta testers has been encouraging. We hope you find these tools useful in your study of the Bible.
Howdy. Looks like it’s been a pretty big week (month?) for you. I have to admit, I never read your book on kissing dating goodbye, but I did appreciate your comments on discontinuing the book a few years back.
Why am I writing? That’s a great question. I’ve seen comments and diatribe by people after your recent statements about your “deconstruction.”
I know you know and realize this, but they’re all full of crap. I know you’re fully aware of the doctrinal and theological points those folks are making. And I’m also sure you’re aware that the motives of those sorts of comments, while the writers would like to deny it, is usually preaching to their own audience and not really out of genuine concern for you or anyone else but themselves.
Anyway, Josh (can I call you Josh?), I wanted to let you know that I think deconstruction of your faith is a good thing. Especially if you were brought up in a fear-based, rules-driven, legalistic environment. Pardon my language, readers, but Josh — deconstruct the hell out of that shit.
I don’t have the answers. I don’t even have the questions. I do claim to be a Christian, but I’m not going to throw doctrine at you or tell you you’re serving Satan or try to sell you fire insurance. Lord knows you’ve had enough of that recently. From my perspective, what Jesus did during his ministry was open up his life and just be with people. He loved them for no other reason than that’s who he was, and what he did.
If you just want to hang out with someone who isn’t going to try and “convert” you (whatever that means), I’m here. Heck, I live in Bellingham and I hear you’re just up the street in Vancouver, BC. Come on down for dinner sometime with my family. We’ll fire up the grill, have something yummy. My boys (6, 2) will run around all crazy-like and be really noisy — especially if the 2 year old “sings”. My daughter (12) will probably just read. We can sit on the deck — well, unless it’s raining — and talk about absolutely nothing theological. You can just relax, and breathe.
That’s actually a serious offer. Use the contact form or email to rick at faithlife dot com. Either way, I hope you get the space you need, and that your path becomes more clear to you.
We hope to publish Rick Brannan’s The Acts of Pilate and the Descent of Christ to Hades: A Greek Reader in August, 2018. It will be the second volume released in the Appian Way Greek Readers series. It is projected to be a 155 page volume with a low price of $9.95.
Greek Text: The Greek text of Tischendorf’s Acts of Pilate A and the Greek text of Tischendorf’s The Descent of Christ to Hades.
Reading Notes: Every word that occurs 20x or fewer in the Greek New Testament is noted with the form in the text, the lemma or dictionary form of the word, the part of speech, the number of NT instances, and a short gloss.
Section Heads: Section headings in English are inserted…
I am appalled that government officials, acting in official capacity, are quoting the Bible to justify government policies. I don’t care if their interpretation is correct or incorrect; while acting in official capacity, they shouldn’t be using a religious document to justify a governmental policy. (Attorney General appealing to Romans 13; Press Secretary appealing to “biblical” positions to define legality.)
I am appalled (but not surprised) that celebrity “preachers” are totally misreading scripture to justify and support governmental positions. (Robert Jeffress, anyone? And Paula White’s anachronistic and wrong reading of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus’ status as refugees in Egypt — really Paula? And pretty much anything Franklin Graham, who has lost any future support I might ever throw Samaritan’s Purse’s way, says or does. These and those like them are sycophants and should be cut off.)
I am appalled at the state of public dialog on social media. For all sides, people.
I am appalled at the current political climate.
I am appalled at the state of racism in America today.
I am appalled at our degenerate two-party system, where every single issue is predictably binary. There is no way the populace of this country is so evenly and reliably divided. Think, people. Free your minds from MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, and those crazy web sites that shall not be named. Think!
I am appalled at how one political party drapes themselves in a label of “pro-life” while enthusiastically supporting policies that have anything but a positive effect on life.
I am appalled at how the other political party drapes themselves in a label of “pro-choice” while damning babies to be killed in utero.
I am appalled that “pro-life” these days apparently means “pro-white-american-in-utero-life.”
I am appalled by the trauma inflicted on children through forcible separation from their parents. This needless policy scars these children for life. This is not a pro-life position — I don’t care what country they’re in or what country they are officially citizens of.
I am appalled at how the party of free trade has violated agreements and started trade wars on multiple fronts that suck life and finances from the people they purport to be representing.
I am appalled at how the party of Reagan appears to prefer standing with despots and dictators instead of standing against tyranny with trusted and reliable allies.
I am appalled at how the party of Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy seems to be simply plugging their nose, holding their breath, and trying to wait this thing out until the election. Well, you know, except for saying inflammatory things on social media.
I am appalled with the legislative and executive branches of our government. Sometimes (most times), I think we should all just vote against incumbents at the federal level and hope for the best.
I am appalled that abortion is a litmus test for both major parties, and that anything but total victory for either party on this issue is off the table. I hate abortion, but I want it to decrease, not increase. Congress could muster support and pass a bipartisan law today on abortion, only allowing it in certain circumstances (rape, incest, harm to mother). I would support this. Why hasn’t it been done? Because for both parties it would hurt fundraising ability and hinder the ability to demonize the other side to cajole votes on the federal level.
An ending note: This is my blog, my platform. Comment what you want, but don’t expect it to be approved, and don’t expect me to respond.