In past years, Pepperdine has contracted with an independent firm to record and distribute the Bible lectures. Those recordings were convenient, but could get expensive. This year, Pepperdine decided not to subcontract the recordings, and to try to make the recordings available for free via iTunes U. Not all classes were recorded, and speakers weren’t informed of this until Thursday night.
Sadly, my own class—“As Far As We Know: Genesis 1 and Contemporary Science” was not recorded, though I could easily have carried my own recording equipment had I known about the new procedures. On the other hand, Richard Beck’s two-day series on “Love Wins” (part 1, part 2) and Jeff Childers’s two-day class entitled “‘Eucatastrophe!’ Says J.R.R. Tolkien” (part 1, part 2) are among the 65 sessions published so far.
So head on over to the 70th Annual Pepperdine Bible Lectures page in the iTunes store, browse the selections there, and find something interesting to help you pass the time during an upcoming commute, workout, or similar activity.
While at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature this past weekend, I attended several sessions in which presenters brought handouts — but not enough of them. In fact, I think I only attended one session in which the handouts didn’t run short, and that session met in a relatively small room on Tuesday morning.
At the same time, I observed a good half to three-quarters of the attendees using smartphones, tablets, or laptops.
Given the relatively high level of connectivity at the Annual Meeting, presenters can very easily overcome the too-few-handouts problem by placing PDF copies online. Presenters who don’t manage their own dedicated webspaces can easily store their handouts online using Dropbox or similar services. URL shorteners like bit.ly, ow.ly, and goo.gl can keep the addresses short and convenient. You could even print a QR code on a few business cards or index cards and pass them around to help users quickly grab your handout.
If you’ve gone to the trouble to make a handout, go to the trouble to make sure your audience gets to see it.
At the risk of pouring vinegar on an open wound, there is something I must say about the controversy currently beclouding Emmanuel Christian Seminary: I feel ashamed of some of the treatment of Paul Blowers and of ECS coming out of the biblioblogosphere. We “overheard” Paul question Chris Rollston’s character (or at least some of his decisions)—and some of us responded by impugning Paul’s character. We “learned” that the “public opinion” held by ECS’s denominational constituency (including actual or potential donors) might influence ECS’s institutional behavior—and some of us responded by trying to leverage the “public opinion” held by “the academy” (of which we appointed ourselves spokespeople) to influence ECS’s institutional behavior.
I find these actions embarrassing. I find them self-referentially inconsistent. I find them lacking in both Christian and academic graces and virtues. Perhaps even more to the point, I find them completely inconsistent with Chris Rollston’s character. I cannot imagine that he would want anyone to defend him by attacking Paul Blowers, Michael Sweeney, or ECS as an institution.
Many Higgaion readers will already have found themselves knee-deep (or deeper) in the brouhaha surrounding Christopher Rollston’s article “The Marginalization of Women: A Biblical Value We Don’t Like to Talk About” (Huffington Post, August 31, 2012). I admit that when I finished my first reading of Chris’s article (the same day it was published), I didn’t give it much additional thought—Chris didn’t break any new ground in the piece. He simply reported, to a mass audience, things that biblical scholars should already know. But then Paul Blowers, Chris’s colleague at Emmanuel Christian Seminary, criticized Chris for the article in a Facebook post that Paul (inadvertently?) made public … and leading bibliobloggers jumped to Chris’s defense, in turn prompting other bloggers and Paul himself to defend the criticism.
I’ve watched with mounting sadness as the online argument between Chris’s critics and defenders has heated up. I’ve held back on any commentary of my own until now, largely because the last ten days or so have been so hectic that I’ve barely had time to breathe, let alone think. The dustup also reminded me, to my shame, of some of my own prior “conversations” with Jim West—and when I recently rebooted Higgaion, I pledged to myself to cultivate a kinder, gentler, more constructive, more Christian web presence. But now, on a quiet Friday afternoon, I find myself drawn back to the conversation around Chris’s HuffPo piece, albeit as a late entrant (and perhaps only in the service of my own catharsis).