Announcing a New Video Project

My media consumption increasingly comes in the form of YouTube videos these days — particularly documentary-style video essays on a variety of topics that interest me. One of my primary interests is obviously biblical studies, but there aren’t a lot of video channels that take biblical research seriously and communicate it to general audiences. So I decided I would give it a try.

I’m launching a channel associated called The Inquisitive Bible Reader that will do what I’ve been doing with this blog for the past seven years — exploring topics related to the history of Christianity and Judaism that interest me, and communicating them in ways that are hopefully clear, informative, and maybe even entertaining. This more visual medium also lets me present things that are difficult to explain in writing.

Even though these videos will initially rely on the research I’ve already written about here, I hope that they contain enough new material to interest my longtime blog readers as well. And fair warning: you can expect my videos to be a bit rough around the edges until I get the hang of this new format.

In the meantime, of course, I’ll continue to write new articles here as time permits.

Here’s the link for the channel: The Inquisitive Bible Reader

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The first video, on the sources and background of the Genesis flood story, is embedded below. It provides a look at the Epic of Gilgamesh and how other ancient texts inform our knowledge of the way Genesis was written. I then analyze the text of the flood story to demonstrate how it was composed from the J and P sources. It should be watched full-screen for best results.

I have two more videos already finished that will be released in the weeks ahead.

Direct link: https://youtu.be/sdXLafLOAoY

10 thoughts on “Announcing a New Video Project

  1. Paul D, I think that you did an excellent job with the video, and I’m glad that you can reach people via YouTube. I do, however, have one question about the video. At around the 11:55 mark, you state that the J author enjoys wordplay and uses ha’ adam/adamah instead of the P author’s “earth.” However, one of the verses you assign to J, Genesis 6:6, actually uses ‘erets (see http://qbible.com/hebrew-old-testament/genesis/6.html), the word supposedly preferred by P, rather than ‘adamah. I used Friedman’s The Bible With Sources Revealed to see what places ‘erets is used by the J source, and I found that it’s used in the following passages in Genesis: 2:4b, 2:5 (2X), 2:6, 2:11, 12, 13; 4:12, 14,16; 6:4,5,6; 7:4,17,18,19,23; 8:3,9,11,22; 9:19. Of these, I find 2:5 and 7:4,23 to be the most significant “deviations” from the J author’s supposed preference for ‘adamah. Genesis 2:5 uses ‘erets twice, and also uses the ‘adam/’adamah pairing. Genesis 7:4,23 seem to use ‘erets and ‘adamah as virtual synonyms. Given all this, do you still think that the difference in vocabulary for the earth/land is a significant one between the P and non-P/J authors?

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    • It’s great to hear what you think, John. Yeah, ‘erets does appear a number of times in the J or non-P source, so it’s less consequential than some of the other differences. But I do think the deliberate use of ‘adamah, which I don’t think P uses at all, is still important. One thing I didn’t get across as well as I wanted to is J’s distinctive wordplay usage in contrast to P — which starts in the Eden story and is also evident in the Babel story. That might be more significant than mere vocabulary differences, but also more subjective and harder to demonstrate by showing the English text.

      Incidentally, Carr takes the view that the J source in chapters 1–11 is different from the other non-P source found in the rest of Genesis and Exodus. If he’s right, then finding P vocabulary in later chapters wouldn’t be significant. Additionally, Jakob Wöhrle has a great paper (which I cited in this article) showing that in later parts of Genesis and Exodus, non-P seems to dependent on P, contrary to what we see in the primeval history. So I tried to keep a narrow focus on the flood story.

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      • But do you agree that the wordplay is absent in 6:6, even though it appears to be there in the English translation you use in the video?

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