Presentation: The Position of Reception History in Biblical Studies

I presented this presentation and paper to the Australian group, the Fellowship of Biblical Studies, in Melbourne, 26/09/16. It concerns both the value & risks of reception history for biblical studies and consideration of the similarity and differences in practice between reception history (Wirkungsgechichte) and history of interpretation (Auslegungsgeschichte), which are both studies of how biblical texts (and others, as easily) have been interpreted and had influence through time. The former is broader than the latter in a range of ways, and I found some tensions between the practice of the two. The following demonstrates these ideas mostly in diagrams with a little text and some explanatory notes, and see the following Word document also.

This is the Word document, merely in dot-point form, rather than a proper prose piece, but it may fill in some gaps:

An Attempt at a Master Diagram of Interesting Features of the Psalms

I’m not entirely happy with this yet, and in fact it isn’t complete, but it’s at a stage of “proof of concept”. It’s a master diagram of Psalms in Prezi arranged like one of those broken-up-world globe map projections:
Psalms Master Prezi Screenshot

For those interested in technical production details, I produced the world template in one Inkscape document and the coloured content in another. Inkscape is a free, open-source vector graphics program. But Prezi doesn’t recognise the normal vector graphics (SVG) format, so I had to open the finished product in Adobe Illustrator (very new for me, and maybe not permanent, though a better-known vector graphics program, probably the best-known of all). Then I exported it in Adobe Flash format (SWF), which Prezi recognizes, and opened the file from within a new prezi, adding nothing else bar the title. The convoluted process is thanks to Inkscape’s usefulness as a graphics editor, whereas Prezi is very limited that way, and the fact that vector graphics do not lose resolution no matter how far you zoom into them, and are ideally suited to a zooming interface like Prezi.

But, if the result doesn’t help anyone comprehend (in this case) Psalms, all the playing around is in vain. So critical feedback is welcome!

An Embryonic Example of Teaching Hebrew Vocabulary Visually in Semantic Fields

This is a work in progress, lacking order and featuring only one or two hundred of the most common terms from OT biblical Hebrew, but you can see the principle I’m pursuing: representing vocabulary words that students need to learn in natural association and with visual clues. I’ve tried out more than one principle of association, and would like to cluster the circles together in related bubble masses in time, though the prezi will at some point begin to grind to a stop with its graphical content. So there is builder’s rubble and scaffolding lying around here.

Heb Vocab Fams Scrshot Smaller

The impetus for this visual aid I owe to David Gormley-O’Brien, whom I heard speak at the SCD Teaching & Learning Conference in Sydney last September, where he called for the teaching of biblical languages in semantic domains, while I was there presenting a paper on, yes, visual communication in the theological classroom. So this is my attempt to put David’s call into practice, such as it is so far.

From a method point of view, I have had to create the frame in prezi, take a screenshot of that and paste it into an Inkscape (i.e. vector graphics) document, type in Hebrew terms in SBL Hebrew font and manipulate them as needed, then select assemblages of Hebrew terms and export them as png files which I could then open from within prezi and drop into place, where they were tailored to fit as needed.

The link:

Feedback is most welcome.

Comparison between Popular Reference Managers EndNote and Zotero

Ref Mgr Prezi Sshot

I prepared this prezi for the benefit of students at MST, comparing EndNote and Zotero as tools for managing research references and citing them in essays and assignments. Included is an explanation of the general use of a reference manager, and space to include treatment of ComWriter, a new Australian start-up that is the first I’ve heard of that integrates both word processing and reference management within the one tool.

Research Digital Workflow

This is my attempt to describe visually the process I go through in researching a topic and writing a formal piece about it. I’ve been interested in how this process works and how I might improve it. First, my best effort at diagramming the process (since I’m tired of working on this diagram and want to draw a line under it!):

And by way of comparison, someone else’s effort to show what they do:

Continually analyzing our own research process is a bit like self-analysis. Too much of it is self-defeating, becoming a substitute for actually getting on with life/research & publication. But a little self-checking can be good. Life is too short to be researching in an inefficient or ineffective way.

Examples of Visual Representation for the Classroom

This is a collation of some of my attempts at visualizing information for the classroom, compiled for an upcoming conference. I hope to soon upload a link to the Prezi that integrates and explains these examples.

Example 1: Excel spreadsheet used as table: “[Geography and] History in the Time of Isaiah and Jeremiah”

Example 2: Excel spreadsheet with line chart: “Rare Old Testament Names for God”:

Example 3: Literary Guide to the Lord’s Prayer PowerPoint: a mostly autonomous presentation:

Example 4: ‘A Stable World and a Shaken World’: an interlinked PowerPoint with a master diagram and twelve detailed slides illustrating non-linear and potentially teacher-independent use of PowerPoint:

Example 5: a schematic Prezi heatmap, ‘Levite References in the Old Testament’, that could act as a navigational page in a website if image-mapped:

Pentateuch Levite References Heatmap

Example 6: a Prezi that is both a map and a timeline. Too much, perhaps?

ANE of Israel's Time Prezi

Example 7: Psalm 148 mindmap using FreePlane, with aim of displaying intricate literary structure:

Psalm 148 mind map screen shot enlarged

Example 8: Chart of genres in Joshua, illustrating a kind of data visualization requiring some human judgment:

Genres of Joshua Chart

Example 9: Prezi diagram of the history of interpretation of Genesis 1 demonstrating prominent use of a visual metaphor, that of a tree. An example of a very content-rich diagram that seeks to remain intuitive at the macro level:

Creation Week Prezi Screenshot

Example 10: the risk of using a picture instead of an icon: risks distracting the viewer with extraneous detail:

Pentateuch Overview Screenshot

Example 11: Prezi on Psalm 79 using Star of David motif to categorize interpretive questions such as those of history, literature and theology, as well as the motif of the Greek letter chi to guide a student exercise looking for symmetrical use of terms in the psalm:

Psalm 79 Prezi Screenshot

Finally, example 12: a great open access NASA photo from Wikimedia Commons supplies an attractive backdrop for an exercise in getting acquainted with Exodus:

Tour through Exodus Prezi S'shot