Archive for June, 2008|Monthly archive page

Memed

Al Hsu, the general books editor here at IVP, tagged me in one of these blogging memes, so here goes.

Here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

[Al and his predecessor left off number five, but I liked it, so I’m reinstating it.]

5. Present an image of martial discord from whatever period or situation you’d like.

1. Link to your tagger:

Done. Okay, number two.

2. Facts:

a. I read dinosaur comics. Sometimes raunchy and maybe not for everyone, but I love it. Thanks for alerting me to it, Greg.

b. When I wear the same clothes for a long time and don’t take a shower, I start to smell like sautéed onions.

c. I made the all-state soccer team in high school. Despite this, I was not as good as I thought I was.

d. In between Feb 1, 1998, and May 1, 2004, I went to over forty shows by the band Waterdeep.

e. Here is a picture of my favorite pen: the Pilot Precise V5 Extra Fine Rolling Ball (Blue).

f. I’ve been to forty-six states. I haven’t been to Alaska, Hawaii, Florida, or Louisiana.

g. I have never used an actual razor to shave. My dad bought me a Norelco in high school, and that sucker is still going. In fact, I don’t even really like to shave with it, so I rarely do. I just let my beard grow until it’s annoying to wash my face at night, and then I trim it down to stubble. Viva la pogonotrophy!

3. Tag 7 People:

a. Derek and/or Katie

b. Ryan and/or Katie

c. Ryan Cordell

d. Levi (anything to get him to update)

e. Amber

f. Kristi (are you there?)

g. Lee Ella

4. Let them know

You have all now been informed.

5. Present an image of martial discord:

Here’s a painting of the charge of the light brigade in the Crimean War (read about it here). And for good measure I’ve included Tennyson’s poetic account of it below the image.

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismayed?
Not tho’ the soldiers knew
Someone had blundered:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volleyed and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell,
Rode the six hundred.

Flashed all their sabres bare,
Flashed as they turned in air,
Sab’ring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wondered:
Plunging in the battery smoke,
Right through the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reeled from the sabre-stroke
Shattered and sundered.
Then they rode back, but not–
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well,
Came thro’ the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of the six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
Oh, the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made!
Honor the Light Brigade,
Noble Six Hundred!

—Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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Be Still, My Heart

More info here

Editing Contest Winner

Well, I have now read that stupid sentence way more times than I ever wanted. What was I thinking?

The winner I have chosen is whichever Cochran actually edited the sentence. Circumstantially I would guess my good friend Ryan, who regularly reads this blog. But his wife Katie is the wordsmith of the Cochran household, so I’m thinking either Katie (who I don’t think ever reads this blog) heard about it from Ryan and tried her hand, or Ryan pulled in a ringer. Either way the prize goes to the same place. Here’s the original sentence:

Many Asian American biblical scholars have adopted a multidisciplinary approach to biblical interpretation, drawing upon postcolonial theory, diasporic studies, anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, Asian American studies and theology, in addition to traditional biblical exegetical and hermeneutical tools, to craft new, hybridized Asian American biblical hermeneutics that are attentive to the issue of reenvisioning Asian American ethnic-racial identities within their diasporic existence in the United States.

And here are the (now two) sentences as edited (with one typo that the Cochrans introduced edited out!):

Many Asian American biblical scholars have adopted a multidisciplinary approach to biblical interpretation in order to craft new, hybridized Asian American biblical hermeneutics that are attentive to the issue of reenvisioning Asian American ethnic-racial identities within their diasporic existence in the United States. This multidisciplinary approach leads these scholars to draw upon postcolonial theory, diasporic studies, anthropology, sociology, Asian American studies and theology, in addition to traditional biblical exegetical and hermeneutical tools.

All the entries were definite improvements, but the many-headed hydra of qualifiers and subordinate clauses that I originally posted surely works better as two sentences. So I’ll mail you your signed book, it’ll get to the Canadian border in a day or two, and then Canada Post will take care of it for the next six or seven weeks before they deliver it to you. Enjoy!

Tornado Photo

I wouldn’t believe this photo was real if it weren’t from an established news source (or, in this case, one of its blogs).

For Tim: Guess the Author

Per Tim’s comment on my previous post, here is a contest asking readers to “guess the author.” So what novelist wrote the following? And in what work?

If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.

Contest winner for the previous post to be announced on Friday. I can’t promise any prizes for winning this one except the prize of being smug about your literary acumen to the philistines around you. But if you really want a copy of “my book” I’ll send you a personally signed copy.

Contest: Edit This Sentence

“Many Asian American biblical scholars have adopted a multidisciplinary approach to biblical interpretation, drawing upon postcolonial theory, diasporic studies, anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, Asian American studies and theology, in addition to traditional biblical exegetical and hermeneutical tools, to craft new, hybridized Asian American biblical hermeneutics that are attentive to the issue of reenvisioning Asian American ethnic-racial identities within their diasporic existence in the United States.”

Best edit gets a signed copy of my book (i.e., the one with yours truly gracing — or disgracing — the cover).

A Baby Is Born

So all those books I regularly consult in my job, the ones I mentioned in this post the other day, are kind of like the DNA for every particular book that gets born at InterVarsity Press. And today I am excited to announce the birth of a book I’m proud to have helped midwife into this world: The Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry and Writings. At 967 pages (which doesn’t take into account the twenty-four pages of front matter) this book is a behemoth. I’ve been working on the book since last fall, but it holds an unusually special place in my heart because, as I was proofing one of the articles on Ecclesiastes, it seemed a little familiar. After a little more reading I realized that it had served as part of my proofing test in my hiring process for InterVarsity Press. It was a surreal moment. Anyways, It’s always an exciting day for me when a project this big comes back from the printer. The fact that all that reading and checking and editing and rereading and reediting and rechecking all result in this actual, physical, sleek, weighty, compact object that I can hold in my hand provides a thrill that I don’t think will ever get old. I’m just a sucker for books. I guess I’m in the right industry.

I always mean to write a blog like this when another big project comes out, but this is the first one I’ve actually gotten around to. I’ve been at InterVarsity Press for a little over a year now, and the big projects I’m particularly proud of include but are not limited to the Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters and the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture volumes (these are the main part of my job) Isaiah 40-66; Psalms 51-150 (Psalms 1-50 is currently in process, as is Jeremiah, Lamentations); Ezekiel, Daniel; and 1-2 Kings, 1-2 Chronicles, Ezrah, Nehemiah, Esther (with some other, even-more exciting projects in the secret vault).

Andrew Louth on St. John of Damascus

“For John Damascene and the Greek tradition he follows, the creation is not simply a backdrop for the drama of Fall and Redemption, set in place and then more or less ignored; the whole created order — the invisible creation, the visible heavens, the earth, the human person in whom the extremities of creation meet (as Maximos had put it), and the whole mystery of human nature — is explored in careful detail. Only at the end of this section [of On the Orthodox Faith] does John recount the Fall, seen as already within God’s providential plan for humanity. It is not that John plays down the Fall (the demons are, of course, fallen), or that he devotes his energies to an account of an ideal creation. His account of creation is of creation as it is, open to distortion by human (and demonic) wickedness. None the less, creation is fundamentally good, and everything created has a proper function, given to it by God.”

-Andrew Louth, St. John Damascene: Tradition and Originality in Byzantine Theology, p. 117

Posts at Nonnus

There’s been some fun stuff going on at the Nonnus blog recently. Here’s my response to two earlier posts by Matt Smith, here and here, in a series exploring the nature of children and innocence. And here’s another post of mine reflecting on the metaphysics of Cormac McCarthy’s cosmos.

What My Job Is Like

I make books for a living, but the sheer number of books I need to do my job is an industry in itself.

Today I have consulted the Hebrew Old Testament, the Septuagint (the ancient translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek), and the Greek New Testament. At one point I simultaneously had seven English Bible translations open on my desk — the NIV, RSV, NRSV, NJB, KJV, NKJV, and the ESV (and I had to look up, unsuccessfully, the “PBV” online) — at the same time as having three translations of the Septuagint up on my computer screen. I have cracked both my Hebrew and Greek lexicons (as I type my Hebrew Bible and lexicon lie open in front of me), as well as my Hebrew grammar (not to mention multiple consultations of the giant oversized version of my American Heritage Dictionary — always open — taking up one full side of my desk). I have also had regular recourse to The Chicago Manual of Style, The SBL Handbook of Style, and our very own little “InterVarsity Press Style Guide” (millennium edition, to be revised later this month). And to top it all off this afternoon, I had to pull down off of a very high shelf the dusty two-volume edition of The Oxford English Dictionary (the one with the print shrunk down so small that it comes with a magnifying glass — but still massive) to look up the Armenian etymology of the Old English word for “heathen.”