Tuesday, November 30, 2010

EABS Graduate Symposium, Maynooth April 8-10 2011

One of the best conferences I ever attended was the first graduate symposium held by EABS in Hawarden in Wales in 2009. I made lifelong friends and got to share the trials and tribulations of postgraduate research with fellow postgrads and post doctoral students. The work shared by others opened my eyes to the huge variety of work that people do in the field of biblical studies and the talks given by James Crossley and Philip Davies were very helpful-plus things are always less intimidating in a small group-the thoughts of Prof Davies listening to a paper describing my postdoc research would have sent my knees a-knocking in normal circumstances, but when you're sitting around a table with a cup of coffee, it's less about the fear and more about the amount of help and guidance I received from not just the Professors, but from my fellow students. And I got to ask James Crossley was he NT Wrong....
So now, partly I suspect because of my enthusiasm for the venture I've been "volunteered" to host the 2011 symposium at my alma mater St Patrick's College, Maynooth and I lots of people to come! I promise the snow will have melted by April (*not a guarantee)

A weekend event supported by EABS, the European Association of Biblical Studies, is being run by and for graduates at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, just outside Dublin. This will be a small event with a big impact. A maximum of twenty people will be in attendance including Professor Jorunn Økland (Director for the Centre of Gender Research, University of Oslo and EABS President) and Emeritus Professor Philip Davies (Sheffield University). In addition there will be a joint session with graduates from the University of Alberta, organised with Professor Ehud Ben Zvi.

Prof Jorunn Økland
Graduates are being encouraged to present a lecture, seminar or discussion on a specific topic related to their studies. Topics are welcome on any subject that may enhance the skills and knowledge of the audience. Presenters at previous events have read papers, given interactive workshops, and used a range of teaching techniques on topics as varied as the epistemology of feminist scholarship, humour and fantasy in the story of Samson, narrative and law, the names of God, and polysemy in Hebrew.

Attending Professors will present on aspects of the development of graduates which do not form an integral part of doctoral training at all institutions, including ‘How to publish your doctoral thesis’ and ‘Realistic career-opportunities in a challenged discipline’. There will also be possibilities for discussion on matters many will have experience of such as networking, gaining copyright permissions and presenting at conferences.
The event is residential and all attendees will eat together in the communal Pugin-designed dining room. Accommodation is on campus.
There will be a tour of the campus and on Sunday afternoon there is an optional tour of the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin city. Use of the Russell Library (huge collection of nerdy bibles) and College library can be facilitated with prior arrangement.
The Venue

St Patrick’s College, Maynooth (founded 1795) has three different institutions of learning. Pontifical University staff and students share the campus with their colleagues in the National Seminary and National University of Ireland, Maynooth. This historic campus blends a tradition of learning with state of the art technology and educational facilities. It is 40 minutes by train from Dublin and is very well serviced by public transport. If you need any specific directions let me know.

The Cost

€130 including 2 nights B&B, Dinner on Friday and Saturday, lunch on Saturday and refreshments.
Further Information

Máire Byrne (St Patrick’s College, Maynooth) or post below!
EABS Graduate Symposium 2011 Application Form (email me for a copy)
Let me know if you have any questions or need more info!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

SBL Greek New Testament

The Society of Biblical Literature, in association with Logos Bible Software,  has made a critically edited Greek New Testament available free to download. It's things like this that cheer a biblenerd up! The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition (SBLGNT), which is freely available in electronic form and for purchase as a print edition.

I'm all about ease of use and making my research simpler so when they use phrases such as "both students, teachers, clergy, and interested laypersons can use the SBLGNT in their study and writings without having to input the Greek text letter by letter" I'm hooked :) I've just downloaded it so I haven't tested it out entirely but I will keep you posted. Have a look at the fatastic BetterBible blog for more detailed info.

And for those of you who have been living under a non-biblical rock, check out the SBL Greek Font.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Bible & Ecology

I was rather chuffed at the recent IBA conference that Biblenerd was mentioned in Pat Rodgers's introductory speech for Larry Hurtado (I am sure Prof Hurtado was not terribly impressed, but we bibliobloggers take publicity wherever we can! On foot of this publicity, I had several people ask for the address of the blog (welcome to all who actually visited!) and a request from Pat and some members to put some material up on the site that they wished to be shared on the Internet-and hopefully be of interest to lots of people.

The first instalment is three PowerPoint presentations made by Sr. Céline Mangan OP on The Bible and Ecology, which I have uploaded to YouTube and posted here for anyone who might like them.
If any other members of the IBA want me to post anything, please let me know-I would only be too delighted to help. Below are the first three of six presentations.

Monday, November 8, 2010

It'll take you a minute...

Two funnies in a row-sometimes it just happens like that! I'll get serious sometime soon!

With thanks to Brendan for sending me the link for Zazzle, I proudly present, Cheeses of Nazareth: (geddit?)

Also available as a tshirt: (Those of a delicate nature should be aware of some cussin' on the rest of that link)

I'm of course taking this as a hint of what he would like for Christmas! 

Friday, November 5, 2010

What if Paul Blogged?

Or Tweeted? From a great blog Cake or Death:

Notes on Readings for Ordinary Time Year A

I was asked to give a lecture this week in Clonliffe for the Dublin Diocesan Liturgical Resource Centre for an excellent six week course they offer to Ministers of the Word. I thought I might post my notes here for anyone who may be interested.

The Readings of Ordinary Time

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bibledex in the Classroom

I've been singing the praises of Bibledex for a while now but have not got round to letting you know how successfully they can be used in a classroom. I've been teaching a Introduction to the Theology of Paul course for Mater Dei to a class that has students taking the course for credit as well as many who were auditing the course. This mean that there were different educational aims to the course and differing levels of ability which meant that students did not like speaking out or asking questions and I felt just jumping into a topic such as Letter to the Romans to be a bit "raw". To try and combat this and provide a "gentle" entry to the topic I played the Bibledex video for the students, for example this one on Romans

And then put some notes up on my PowerPoint to start discussion. This worked really well as students didn't feel under pressure to take notes and enjoyed the graphics that illustrated the main points in the video. I've all my notes from the course on Scribd so you can have a look:

I got great feedback from students-many of whom went back to watch the video after the class on their own computers. They proved a great launchpad for the important topics in a particular epistle and the students were fascinated by the "real world" of Paul. The biggest talking point however, was just how many books does Richard Bell have? 

New Blog Roll Addition

The top 50 BibliobBoggers have been published and there's a new entry at number 29-Reading Isaiah as Christian Scripture by Bacho Bordjadze and it's well worth a gander for Isaiah nerds like myself.

Just War Theory for Teenagers-Musings on my Lesson Plans!

As you might know, I've been teaching senior cycle Religious Education in my hometown, Dundalk since September and as such I've had to move away from my comfort zone of the Bible (no bad thing you might say) and have been dipping my toes in other topics. For the next few weeks, I am working on Just War Theory with my fifth years. The school I teach in is Catholic but does not offer RE as a Leaving Cert subject so my students do not have to sit an exam-just participate. This you may think would be a dream come true for an RE teacher-the freedom to explore and debate without the looming fear of exams. For those who have ever come across a teenager before, you will recognise that for most teenagers, a bit of a looming fear is the only thing to get them to do anything. This coupled with issue of ability and time constraints (I have two 35-minute classes a week) means I have had to juggle a bit. My lovely lesson plans go out the window when I have to spend an entire class either keeping order (if a teenager wants to talk, talk they will) or explaining something I thought would be easy to grasp.

I also went to some lengths to see what the students would like to study (within reason. Moreover, never ask what films they think would be suitable. You will never persuade them why you cannot in loco parentis show a group of 16 year olds an 18s Cert film) and they liked the idea of War and the morality of it so this is where we are going to explore. I spend the first class after the midterm "brainstorming" (oh the glamour of it all) to see where we might take the debate. I seem to have a great even divide of pacifists and war hungry Medal of Honour gamers and all in between in the class so I'm going to try the debate route (again being careful-one class cannot handle debates-the idea of one person talking without interruption is not yet a class rule but we're working on it.) They are also obsessed with the idea of "the Muslims" being at fault for everything and I have one student who readily admits to watching too many conspiracy theory videos on YouTube so this should be fun if nothing else.

While looking for some online resources I found some great starts for teaching the about Just War Theory. Trocaire has two Pdf resources on conflict Give Peace a Chance (This is an educational resource for post-primary educators on the conflict in Gaza. It contains information and activities to help you explore the issue with Junior and Senior Cycle students) and Bread and Bombs (An educational resource on war & Afghanistan for post primary teachers. Produced after the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington, this resource offers educational activities for the classroom as well as suggestions for CSPE action projects.)

Tomorrow I'm planning on working through these edited ideas of Just War principles:

Principles of a Just War

1. A just war can only be fought as a last resort. All non-violent options must be exhausted before the use of force can be justified.

2. A war is just only if it is fought by a valid authority. Even just causes cannot be served by actions taken by individuals or groups who do not constitute an authority sanctioned by whatever the society and outsiders to the society deem legitimate.

3. A just war can only be fought to put right a wrong suffered. For example, self-defence against an armed attack is always considered to be a just cause. Further, a just war can only be fought with "right" intentions: the only allowed aim of a just war is to put right the injury.

4. A war can only be just if it is fought with a reasonable chance of success. Deaths and injury incurred in a hopeless cause are not morally justifiable.

5. The ultimate goal of a just war is to re-establish peace. The peace established after the war must be preferable to the peace that would have prevailed if the war had not been fought.

6. The violence used in the war must be proportional to the injury suffered. Countries are not allowed to use force excessive force.

7. The weapons used in war must discriminate between combatants and non-combatants. Civilians are never permissible targets of war, and every effort must be taken to avoid killing civilians. The deaths of civilians are justified only if they are unavoidable victims of a deliberate attack on a military target.

to work up to the United Nations documents on peacekeeping and the Geneva Conventions. I will let you know how it goes!

Website Reviews-Mission

A bit late but you can get planning for 2011-website reviews this month are based on Irish website involved in Missionary work.

The website for World Missions, Ireland  has been updated and is well worth a visit for lots of information on the Society and its work. World Missions Ireland (WMI) is registered name of The Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in Ireland. The site has lots of information and resources for Mission Sunday, including a children’s liturgy and prayers of the faithful. Under the section on children helping children, there are plenty of resources for the classroom including activity sheets and a rosary leaflet. There are also links to YouTube videos and a newsletter.

Misean Cara is an organisation that provides support for the development work of Irish missionary organisations in more than 60 countries around the world. The website is very well laid out and easy to navigate with plenty of colourful graphics and quick links and the photo gallery is an excellent and well organised resource. The section on their work around the world is simple to use as it is based around a world map and gives a very clear overview of the work of the group. The profiles of the various members of the association are clear and give lots of information on the religious orders.
The Act Now website, is hosted by Dóchas, calling on the government to fulfil its promise made in the Millennium Declaration at the 2000 UN Millennium Summit, to
"free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanising conditions of extreme poverty, to which more than a billion of them are currently subjected."
This website is an excellent resource for use in schools on Mission as it highlights the issues involved and the poverty that is being suffered around the world, as well as how we can help and lobby governments to assist those less well off than us.

The IMU (Irish Missionary Union) website offers a variety of resources and information for anyone interested in the influence of Irish missionaries at home and abroad, including a link to the “Justice Desk” providing links and press releases on issues effecting missionary work throughout the world. The Mission Alive website is a sub-site of the Irish Missionary Union and a colourful and informative resource, especially for educational resources for Mission Month. There is a whole page dedicated to a range of activities that individuals and groups, such as prayer groups and schools could take on to increase their involvement in Mission Month.