The Bible and its World on the World Wide Web

In Bibliotheca Orientalis 71 (2014), 361-370, I published an article on “Web-based Resources in the Field of Old Testament Studies” (it can be found here). On this page of my weblog I want to keep the information given there up to date.

Portals

A very well-organized website to start with is that of Torrey Seland (School of Mission and Theology, Stavanger, Norway) ‘Resource Pages for Biblical studies’ (http://torreys.org/bible/) with a page on texts and translations, containing links to biblical texts and various other texts related to the Bible, and especially to the New Testament. It is subdivided into pages on Bible texts and translations, Greek and Hebrew texts, apocrypha and pseudepigrapha, Qumran and Josephus and rabbinica, gnostica and church fathers, ‘classical texts’, and linguistic resources.

The website of Ehud Ben Zvi (University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada) has a very instructive page titled ‘Assisting you to learn’ (http://www.ualberta.ca/~ebenzvi/teaching.html) with the subdivision: Ancient Mesopotamia (‘learning about the Ancient Mesopotamia and the Levant’), Hebrew Bible/Ancient Israel (‘learning about the Hebrew Bible, the history of Ancient Israel, Biblical Hebrew, and related topics’), From Cyrus to Jesus (‘learning about “The Second Temple Period” in Judah within its larger historical and geographical context’), Judaism (‘some resources pertaining to the study of Judaism’), and Resources (‘for writing papers and additional resources’).

‘Biblical Studies Online’ (http://biblicalstudiesonline.wordpress.com/), maintained by James Crossley (University of Sheffield) and Deane Galbraith (University of Otago) is meant ‘to provide both biblical scholars and the interested wider public with ease of access to quality biblical scholarship, as it comes available online’. The home page offers a very long list of almost 300(!) categories, with the subdivision: ‘academia’, ‘biblical languages’ (which includes most languages of the ancient Near East), ‘’biblical literature’, ‘biblical reception history’, ‘biblical studies topics’, ‘historical and literary contexts’, ‘media’, ‘methods and approaches in biblical studies’, ‘primary sources’, and ‘seminars, conferences, talks’. This very rich website deserves a better layout.

Tyndale House (Cambridge) offers a good portal and also a special toolbar for many online resources for biblical studies: http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/index.php?page=online-resources.

Tools for Studying the Hebrew Bible, by Mark Brettler

Online Resources for Biblical Studies, by Charles L. Echols

Free Web Resources on Religion (Yale University Library)

Biblical languages

A long list of useful links to web-based resources related to studying Biblical Hebrew is given by Ben Zvi: http://www.ualberta.ca/~ebenzvi/Assist/Hebrew_Bible/hebrewbibstudy.html.

A number of Hebrew lexicons can be consulted online. A very useful portal for this is the website ‘2Letterlookup’ (http://www.2letterlookup.com/), which give access to among others the old lexicon of Gesenius, and lists relevant other websites. Also the work of Brown, Drivers and Briggs is available, for instance on http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/hebrew/kjv/.

The United Bible Societies present ‘The Semantic Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew’ (http://www.sdbh.org/home-en.html), which is building a new dictionary of biblical Hebrew that is based on semantic domains. The editor is Reinier de Blois.

‘The Semantics of Ancient Hebrew Database’ project (http://www.sahd.div.ed.ac.uk/) ‘aims to provide a structured and critical survey of scholarly literature on the vocabulary of classical Hebrew’. The project started already in 1994 and seems to progress only slowly. What has been produced is of high scholarly quality.

A similar project – also in progress – is the one on Aramaic texts: the ‘Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon Project’ (http://cal1.cn.huc.edu/). It offers a database of lexically parsed words of the Aramaic texts in all dialects from the earliest (9th Century BCE) through the 13th Century CE, currently. The ultimate goal is the creation of a complete lexicon of the language, but it is already very useful for scholars working in this field.

‘Davar – Biblical Hebrew Vocabularies’ (http://flexiblelearning.auckland.ac.nz/davar/index.html) is a project developed at The University of Auckland as a tool in the teaching of Hebrew. It has built a vocabulary that can be customized with different textbooks or lesson objectives.

There are number of online courses in Biblical Hebrew, for instance http://biblicalstudiesonline.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/ken-schenck-on-beginning-biblical-hebrew/, http://www.hebrew4christians.com/

and https://webapp.fkt.uvt.nl/bho/plugin_wiki/page/home (Dutch)

Efemeriden (korte videocolleges door Piet van Midden over Hebreeuwse teksten), bijvoorbeeld over Genesis 1.

Bible software

This is not the place to evaluate the well known software of BibleWorks, Accordance, Logos (with the Stuttgart Electronic Study Bible), e-Sword and many other tools that are available to study the biblical texts. There are many websites with surveys and reviews, like the ‘Top 10 Bible Software Programs’ (http://christianity.about.com/od/biblestudyresources/tp/biblesoftware.htm). Very useful are the discussion groups and group pages on the internet.

BibleWorks: http://www.bibleworks.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?2-General-BibleWorks-discussion and https://www.facebook.com/BibleWorks?fref=ts

Accordance: https://www.facebook.com/accordancebible

Logos: https://www.facebook.com/logos?fref=ts

e-Sword: http://www.biblesupport.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/pages/e-sword-bible-program/48879560980

Do not forget the Eep Talstra Centre for Bible and Computer: http://etcbc.nl/ with SHEBANQ as online envirement for studying the Hebrew Bible: https://shebanq.ancient-data.org/

Next to this there are also many useful tools available on the internet for exploring the Bible. A good example is ‘The Bible Tool’ (http://www.crosswire.org/study/index.jsp), an open source tool created by CrossWire Bible Society, the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Bible Society. It only offers the biblical text in (many) translations, together with lots of (partially rather outdated) secondary literature.

Another tool, with a better interface, for browsing the Biblical texts (in English translation), with much extra information is the ‘Blueletterbible’ (http://www.blueletterbible.org/)

Very good tools in this category are the ‘Bible Hub’ (http://biblehub.com/), which also offers Greek and Hebrew study tools, with among other things a good interlinear English – Hebrew/Greek text, and the STEP Bible (https://www.stepbible.org/).

Manuscripts

The codex Leningradensis is available in many ways, for instance, via the Gutenberg project (https://archive.org/details/Leningrad_Codex) or via Wikimedia (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Codex_Leningradensis)

The Aleppo codex can be studied now via the excellent website www.aleppocodex.org.

Next to these two famous manuscripts there are many more Hebrew manuscripts that can be studied for textcritical reasons or, for instance, to look for ancient traditions in dividing the texts into smaller sections, as in the Pericope project (http://www.pericope.net/index.htm). An overview of what is worldwide available, with much more than only Hebrew manuscripts, is offered on the website ‘Arts Online’: https://zeroland.co.nz/visual-arts/manuscripts/

The Dead Sea scrolls are available now via http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/ and http://www.deadseascrolls.org.il/home.

The British Library offers a beautiful website (http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/) to view digitized copies of biblical manuscripts and early printed Bibles in the library’s collections, with descriptions of their contents.

There is also a Cambridge digital library with Hebrew Manuscripts: http://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/.

The Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican Library) have joined efforts in a digitization project which makes available a great number of Hebrew and Greek Bible manuscripts (http://bav.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/).

The Ets Haim library in Amsterdam made their manuscripts available on http://www.etshaimmanuscripts.nl/manuscripts/.

The ‘Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland’ (http://www.e-codices.unifr.ch/en) provides access to all medieval manuscripts of Switzerland, including a number of Hebrew and Greek bible manuscripts.

The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (http://www.csntm.org/) also offers online resources. These include a number of Hebrew texts.

With regard to the Greek texts of the Old Testament we can refer here in the first place to the excellent presentation of the codex Sinaiticus: http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/.[1]

Resources for the study of the Septuagint and old Greek translations of the Hebrew scriptures are made available by Joel Kalvesmaki on http://www.kalvesmaki.com/LXX/secondlit.htm and by the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies on http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/ioscs/.

Biblical manuscripts are also included in the large-scale ‘West Semitic Research Project’ (https://dornsife.usc.edu/wsrp/) and the related project ‘InscriptiFact’ (http://www.inscriptifact.com/) with a wealth of ancient images and commentary relating to the Bible and the ancient Near East.[2] This academic project, affiliated with the University of Southern California School of Religion and directed by Bruce Zuckerman, is running now for almost three decades. A big collection of high resolution images has been made available.

Text editions

Some information on the edition of the Biblia Hebraica Quinta is given on https://www.academic-bible.com/en/home/current-projects/biblia-hebraica-quinta-bhq/ . It contains samples of the parts that have been published thus far.

Information about The Hebrew University Bible Project working on a comprehensive survey of the history of the textual development of the Hebrew Bible and the production of a major critical edition on the basis of the Aleppo codex can be found on http://old.hum.huji.ac.il/english/units.php?cat=5015&incat=4982 with samples of the edition of the text of Ezekiel.

The work in the Scholars Hebrew Bible project on a new critical edition of the Hebrew (unlike the diplomatic editions of the Biblia Hebraica Quinta and the Hebrew University Bible) is presented, with a number of samples, on http://hbceonline.org/

The biblical text in unicode

The biblical text in Hebrew and its ancient translated versions are in many ways available on the internet in unicode, enabling the user to consult the text and use it in word processors. On the site of the German Bible Society http://www.academic-bible.com/en/home/scholarly-editions/ one finds the following editions: the text of the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, the text of the Septuagint (ed. Rahlfs/Hanhart), and the Latin Bible following the text of the Vulgate (ed. Weber/Gryson).

The website of the Mamre Institute (http://www.mechon-mamre.org/) presents the Hebrew Bible in different editions, including a parallel Hebrew and English version, and also the Targum Onqelos on the Books of Moses.

There is also a digital text version of the codex Leningradensis transcribed by the J. Alan Groves Center (http://www.tanach.us/Tanach.xml).

Via www.biblija.net the United Bible Societies offer a wealth of Bible translations on a website with a very useful interface enabling the user to compare different translations by putting them next to each other on the screen.

The New English Translation of the Septuagint, as published by Oxford University Press in 2009, including corrections and emendations, is available via http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/nets/edition/

The Aramaic Bible Society made available the English translation of the Peshitta by George Lamsa via http://aramaicpeshitta.com/AramaicNTtools/dr_george_lamsa_bible.htm.

http://www.scripture4all.org/ offers a good interlinear Hebrew-English text.

Biblical archaeology

The Israel Antiquities Authority (http://www.antiquities.org.il/) is a good portal for resources about the archaeology of ancient Israel. The Hebrew version is better than the English one.

The website of the American Schools of Oriental Research http://www.asor.org/ contains a lot of interesting material about current issues but also about excavations in the past. The archive houses material documenting a century of archaeological work with a number of photograph collections.

Very interesting photographs can also be found on http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/matpc/. Eric and Edith Matson made these photographs in Palestine in the first half of the twentieth century.

The University of Kiel offers a database http://www.uni-kiel.de/kibidano/ with digital resources for teaching and research related to the Middle East. It contains late 19th century photographs reproduced from books but also photos taken by modern scholars.

The website of the Biblical Archaeology Society (http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/) has a very useful list of current excavations, with links to the related resources (http://digs.bib-arch.org/). A similar list can be found on the website ‘The Bible and Interpretation’ (http://www.bibleinterp.com/ae.shtml).

The website ‘Theology on the web’ also has a page on biblical archaeology (http://www.theologyontheweb.org.uk/biblicalarchaeology.html) with ‘material relating to the archaeological background of the lands of the Bible’.

The Bible + Orient Museum in Fribourg (http://www.bible-orient-museum.ch/) offers the very useful tool ‘Bible + Orient Datenbank Online’(http://www.bible-orient-museum.ch/bodo/) for consulting the digitalized catalogs of the collections. The database includes a growing number of objects from other iconographically relevant collections as well, for instance from the works on iconography of Othmar Keel and others. It will also include the entries from the ‘Iconography of Deities and Demons Project’ (http://www.religionswissenschaft.uzh.ch/idd/).

Very useful and good information about biblical realia is given on the website of the Dutch society of Old Testament Study in the database about ‘Utensils in the Hebrew Bible’: http://www.otw-site.eu/introductie-database/

The interpretation of the Hebrew Bible

The website ‘The Bible and interpretation’ (http://www.bibleinterp.com/), maintained by Mark Elliott and Patricia Landy, is designed ‘to delivering the latest news, features, editorials, commentary, archaeological interpretation and excavations relevant to the study of the Bible for the public and biblical scholars’. It is up-to-date, with many original contribution and useful links.

We already mentioned the website of the German Bible Society (http://www.bibelwissenschaft.de/). This is also the portal to the excellent ‘wissenschaftliche Bibellexikon im Internet’ (http://www.bibelwissenschaft.de/wibilex/), edited by Michaela Bauks and Klaus Koenen.

Also the website ‘BibleStudyTools’ (http://www.biblestudytools.com/) can be mentioned here as a portal to biblical lexicons, be it that these lexicons are relatively old and therefore in some respects outdated.

The website ‘Biblical Studies.org.uk’ (http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/index.html) offers many digitized rare and out-of-print books and articles.

The ‘Internet History Sourcebooks Project’ (Fordham University, the Jesuit University of New York) has a very useful page on Israel (http://www.fordham.edu/Halsall/ancient/asbook06.asp) with a big collection of public domain historical texts on the usual issues of biblical studies and many links to other relevant websites.

‘Bible History online’ (http://www.bible-history.com/) is a conservative lexicon about the Bible and its historical context.

The Review of Biblical Literature (http://www.bookreviews.org/) presents extensive scholarly reviews of books in biblical studies.

The website ‘Best Commentaries’ (http://www.bestcommentaries.com/) offers reviews and ratings of commentaries of the books of the Bible, thus helping to find a way in this flood of literature.

The well-organized website of Chris Heard (http://www.itanakh.org/) offers a wealth of secondary literature on the books of the Old Testament.

For those interested in the logotechnical analysis of the Old Testament the webpage of Casper Labuschagne (http://www.labuschagne.nl/) will be of interested. Here he publishes his ongoing research on the numerical features of the Psalms, the Torah and the books Joshua-Kings.

A good introduction to the more common literary critical approach is offered by Tzemah Yoreh on his webpage http://www.biblecriticism.com/.

A good webpage about analyzing Hebrew poetry is offered by John F. Hobbins: http://ancienthebrewpoetry.typepad.com/ancient_hebrew_poetry/. It is presented in the form of a weblog (and therefore also listed below), but it contains next to the discussion of some of the contemporary issues in the field of biblical studies a number of good resources on the subject of ancient Hebrew poetry.

Ralph W. Klein presents a useful overview of available sources of secondary literature on his website ‘The Old Testament and the ancient Near East:  http://prophetess.lstc.edu/~rklein/

An index of Biblical quotations and allusions in early christian literature is found on http://www.biblindex.mom.fr/.

A good online Bible atlas is http://swartzentrover.com/cotor/Bible/Bible/Bible%20Atlas/Bible%20Atlas.htm.

Very interesting is also the website ‘Holy Land Maps’ http://web.nli.org.il/sites/NLI/English/digitallibrary/moreshet_bareshet/Pages/holy-land-maps.aspxa big collection of beautiful ancient maps of Israel from the 15th until the beginning of the 20th century, collected by Eran Laor and now made available by the Jewish National and University Library in Jerusalem.

The Pontificial Biblical Institute (http://www.biblico.it/sussidi.html) supports the research of biblical literature with good bibliographies.

Online journals

When it comes to surveys of recent literature the Denver Journal is very helpful. It offers online (http://www.denverseminary.edu/resources/denver-journal/) every year an extensive annotated bibliography.

Now we have entered the field of online journals it is good to refer to the  constantly renewed list of open access journals in ancient studies on http://ancientworldonline.blogspot.nl/.

The website ‘Biblical Studies on the Web’ (http://www.bsw.org/) functions as a gateway to the electronic version of the journals Biblica and Filologia Neotestamentica.

The online journal HIPHIL Novum (http://www.hiphil.org/) is part of the SBL program unit on Global Education and Research Technology. It continues HIPHIL which was published between 2003 and 2010.

Other online journal are the Jewish Biblical Quarterly (http://jbq.jewishbible.org/), the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures (http://www.jhsonline.org/), the on-line journal of the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem: the Bible Lands E-Review (http://biblelandsreview.wordpress.com/),  Textus: Studies of Hebrew University Bible Project (http://old.hum.huji.ac.il/english/units.php?cat=5016&incat=4982), TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism (http://rosetta.reltech.org/TC/index.html#page=home).

An overview of Open Access Journals in Ancient Studies is given on http://ancientworldonline.blogspot.com/

Discussion groups and weblogs

Strictly speaking this final category cannot be ranked among web-based resources. Nevertheless, they cannot be excluded from this survey, because they represent one of the most important advantages of the new possibilities offered by the internet for the study of the Old Testament. The ongoing discussion in these groups and via these weblogs helps to find the individual researcher to find his way in the ever growing streams of information. It shows tendencies and stimulates the critical view on relevance and quality.

There are lists of discussion groups on facebook: http://biblioblogtop50.wordpress.com/complete-list-of-facebook-biblical-studies-pages/ or on yahoo: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/biblicalist/info. Interesting (usually these are also big) groups are https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/biblical-studies/info, and https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/ANE-2/info

A very helpful tool in finding your way among the many weblogs are the regular lists of the best or most interesting ones, like http://peterkirby.com/category/top-biblioblogs, or the ‘Biblical Studies Carnival’(http://biblioblogtop50.wordpress.com/biblical-studies-carnival-list/), ‘a monthly carnival showcasing the best of blog posts in the area of academic biblical studies’.

Here I give an admittedly subjective short list, in random order, of useful, high level and regularly updated weblogs on the study of the Old Testament.

Literature on Bible and computer

A good book on the impact of the use of the computer of the use of the Bible was published recently by Jeffrey Siker. Liquid Scripture; cf. the review by Claire Clivaz, who earlier co-edited herself a book on this subject: C. Clivaz, A. Gregory, D. Hamidovic (eds), Digital Humanities in Biblical, Early Jewish and Early Christian Studies (Scholarly Communication Series), Brill: Leiden 2014. .

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