Daily Archives: 19 Sep 2010

The Archaeology of Lebanon

A special issue of Near Eastern Archaeology has been put together.  All the details are available at the ASOR blog.

And speaking of Near Eastern Archaeology– might I just say, you would be much better off reading it and subscribing to it than to the Biblical Archaeology Review.  It is as far superior to BAR as the sun is superior to a candle.

Total Depravity: The Dad Who Killed His Little Children

Hell is too good for some people. There really should be a hell within hell for child murderers. A place where the fires of regular hell would, by comparison, be cool breezes on a winter’s day in Alaska. This guy should be sent there.

Three children were found shot dead Sunday at a suburban Houston apartment building, and their father was charged with their murders after surviving an apparent suicide attempt, authorities said. Muhammed Goher, 47, was charged with three counts of capital murder in the Sunday morning slayings, said Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Jamie Wagner. Goher was in stable condition Sunday afternoon at Ben Taub Hospital in Houston, where he was being treated for what investigators say was a self-inflicted gunshot wound, she said. Goher’s two daughters, ages 13 and 7, and a 12-year-old son were killed in the shootings, which were reported around 9:45 a.m. at an apartment near a food market three miles south of Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Why? Why? Because he didn’t want his ex wife to have custody.

According to Harris County court records, Goher faced a Sept. 27 court hearing in a custody battle with his ex-wife, Norma Goher. Muhommad Riaz, Goher’s co-worker at a convenience store near his apartment building, told the Chronicle that he had spoken with Goher Saturday. He found him to be upset over the upcoming court date and the fear of losing his visitation rights, Riaz said. Goher said “everyone was lying” about him having a violent temper, Riaz told the newspaper.

Hell’s hell, open wide. Muhammad Goher’s coming.

Some People Aren’t Ever Convinced…

No matter what proof they are offered, as this delightful tale from the Talmud shows-

It had been taught: On that day R. Eliezer brought forward all the arguments in the world, but they [his opponents] did not accept them. Said he to them: ‘If the halakah agrees with me, let this carob-tree prove it!’ Thereupon the carob-tree was torn a hundred cubits out of place – others affirm, four hundred cubits. ‘No proof can be brought from a carob-tree,’ they retorted. Again he said to them: ‘If the halakah agrees with me, let the stream of water prove it!’ Whereupon the stream of water flowed backwards. ‘No proof can be brought from a stream of water,’ they rejoined.

That’s the way it is.

Does the Bible Promote Violence?

Watch Thomas Römer and Georges Kobi discuss that very pressing question here.

Comment comprendre les appels à la violence qui traversent la Bible? Faut-il cacher ce côté obscur du texte sacré ? Un débat d’actualité à l’occasion du premier “FestiBible”, qui a lieu ce week-end dans la ville de Fribourg. Un festival qui propose des dizaines d’animations dans 15 lieux, pour faire mieux connaître le livre le plus lu au monde. Avec Thomas Römer, professeur Ancien Testament à l’UNIL, et Georges Kobi, du Mouvement international de la réconciliation.

It’s 23 minutes of insight!

Moral Search Engine? Nah, It’s Useless

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

A number of new Internet search engines created by Christian, Jewish or Muslim entities aim to filter out queries from Web users in a way that is more relevant to those users and keeps them from temptation, alcohol and pornography.

Sounds great, right?

For Christians, SeekFind offers “a research tool for people who are looking for biblical and theological content from an evangelical Christian prospective,” says founder Shea Houdmann, who operates from Colorado Springs, Colorado. According to the seekfind.org website, the search engine functions by “only indexing websites that are Biblically-based, theologically-sound, and in agreement with our statement of faith.

So I tried it- here’s the results for the name of this humble blog-

Search results for: zwinglius redivivus
No results found.

It came up with the same absurd response to Rudolf Bultmann too! Come on!!!! A search engine that doesn’t know Bultmann is a piece of nonsense in the first place.

Google, on the other hand-

tons of hits.

Specialized search engines, like specialized bible editions, are pointless. They only offer a very narrow and usually not very accurate result.  Besides, if Christians can’t control themselves when they do internet searches to avoid porn and other such things, they should probably not search for ‘midget wrestling’ or ‘girls gone wild’ in the first place.

Who Wouldn’t Want to Read a Book About Fat Rabbis?

Daniel Boyarin, Socrates and the Fat Rabbis is a fairly recent volume which is reviewed in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review and which sounds really delightful.

The broadest purpose of this book is to argue that Plato’s dialogues and the Babylonian Talmud are examples of Menippean satire, or spoudogeloion, a genre in which high and low elements are mixed in such a way that the practices of intellectuals “are both mocked and asserted at one and the same time” (26). Almost every society, Boyarin tells us, produces such satire, but Plato and the Talmud are particularly comparable because they share a Hellenistic viewpoint (133) and because they apply the satire similarly. The meat of the book constitutes a description of the similarity through close readings of several passages from Baba Metzia and other tractates (chs. 4, 5, and 6), as well as the Protagoras (ch. 2), the Gorgias (ch. 3), and the Symposium, particularly the speeches of Pausanias, Socrates, and Alcibiades (chs. 7 and 8). Boyarin’s interpretations of Talmud are novel and compelling, as is the evidence adduced of a general rabbinic familiarity with Greek and Roman stories. The interpretations of Plato probably offer the scholarship at large no net gain, but reframe the work of others in way that is consistent and engaging. The book is driven by delight in all things clever and witty, and, while often cavalier, is pleasant and unrancorous.

Sounds great! I think I’ll put it on my Amazon wish list. Christmas is coming.

No One Should Consider Glenn Beck a Religious Leader

Glenn Beck's Religion Advisor

If even one person does, that’s too many.

Fewer than one in five Americans (17 percent) say Beck is “the right person to lead a religious movement” according to the PRRI/RNS Religion News Poll, conducted Sept. 9-12. Even his biggest supporters are skeptical. “Among white evangelical Protestants, the religious group registering the highest favorability for Beck, only about 1-in-4 (26 percent) say Beck is the right person to lead a religious movement,” notes the Public Religion Research Institute. “Among Republicans, the overall group registering the highest favorability for Beck, only 29 percent say he is the right person to lead a religious movement.”

Glenn Beck has as much business pretending to be a spokesman for religion as Mark Stevens has in being a spokesman for coffee abstinence. Following Beck is a case of the blind following the blind.

Herod’s Theater Box: A Photo

Thanks to Joseph Lauer-

Previous discussion here.

Dig At Gath in 2011

Aren has uploaded registration info for the 2011 season.  Go, find Goliath’s bones and helmet and bowl and prove those wicked minimalists dead wrong!

😉

[That was for my maxi friends, and I do have them!]

They’re Right, Exercise Matters Very Little When it Comes to Weight Loss- Diet is Everything

Quark Genuss, Granny Smith & Banane

Putting more calories in your body than it needs to operate makes you fat.  Eating fewer calories than you burn makes you thin.  The only contribution exercise makes is that it builds a little muscle and muscle burns calories while fat doesn’t.  It’s a true yet simple formula.  Which is becoming more and more apparent to people who pay attention to such matters.  In fact, this essay in the Guardian is must reading.

In part,

From StairMasters to kettlebells, Rosemary Conley to Natalie Cassidy, we understand and expect that getting in shape is going to require serious effort on our part – and the reverse is true, too, that we expect exercise to pay back the hours of boring, sweaty graft with a leaner, lighter body. Since the days of the Green Goddess, we’ve known that the healthiest way to lose weight is through exercise. It’s science, isn’t it? Well, science has some bad news for you. More and more research in both the UK and the US is emerging to show that exercise has a negligible impact on weight loss. That tri-weekly commitment to aerobics class? Almost worthless, as far as fitting into your bikini is concerned. The Mayo Clinic, a not-for-profit medical research establishment in the US, reports that, in general, studies “have demonstrated no or modest weight loss with exercise alone” and that “an exercise regimen… is unlikely to result in short-term weight loss beyond what is achieved with dietary change.”

Science is finally right about something. Diet is everything. Exercising for hours a day, pointless really. Sorry. But if you’ll stop stuffing your face you’ll lose weight and if you eat like a pig and work out 2 hours a day you’ll still be fat. Look here-

Snack attack: how long it takes to burn off 10 favourite foods
One portion of Tesco lasagne (560 cal): 45 minutes of spinning
One slice of Domino’s pepperoni pizza (198 cal): 45 minutes of swimming
Morrisons’ chocolate-chip muffin (476 cal): 58 minutes of climbing
Packet of Walkers cheese and onion crisps (184 cal): 35 minutes of frisbee
Subway tuna wrap (310 cal): 1 hour and 10 minutes of body pump
Bacon sandwich on white bread (430 cal): 58 minutes of football
Coffee Republic ham and cheese toastie (436 cal): 1 hour and 30 minutes of netball
Granny Smith apple (62 cal): 15 minutes of weightlifting
M&S hot cross bun (159 cal): 20 minutes of skipping
Mars bar (280 cal): 50 minutes of aqua aerobics

So stop eating too much. And sure, go ahead and exercise, it’s good for stress reduction. It’s lousy for weight reduction though.

Once More, The Oppressed Become the Oppressors

Portrait of Avigdor Lieberman

Israel’s foreign minister on Sunday called for redrawing the country’s borders to exclude some Arab citizens, raising the explosive proposal just as new peace talks with the Palestinians struggle to get underway. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also rejected the foundation on which years of negotiation with the Palestinians have been based: Trading captured land for peace. The principle guiding peace talks “must not be land for peace, but an exchange of land and people,” Lieberman told reporters before the weekly Cabinet meeting.

In other words, he wants Arabs removed from Israeli land. Ok, well then Israelis should be expelled from Arab land. Say farewell to the entirety of the West Bank and all of East Jerusalem, Gaza, and most of the Galilee.

Of course that won’t happen. Not when the oppressed behave as oppressors.  Nor will peace, which so many simply don’t want and are doing everything they can to sabotage.

Out in California, Another Waco Brewing?

These kinds of things are always troubling, since they give evidence to a type of apocalyptic religious insanity that springs up too frequently.  This, by the way, is why Christian pastors ought to be theologians- in order to rightly ‘divide the word of truth’ and guard their flocks from the wolves of deception.

Deputies searched a wide swath of Southern California early Sunday for a break-off religious sect of 13 people that included children as young as three and left behind letters indicating they were awaiting an apocalyptic event and would soon see Jesus and their dead relatives in heaven, authorities said. The group of El Salvadoran immigrants, described as “cult-like” by sheriff’s officials, was led by Reyna Marisol Chicas, a 32-year-old woman from Palmdale in northeast Los Angeles county, sheriff’s Captain Mike Parker said.

Phrases like ‘soon see Jesus and their dead relatives in heaven’ are really red flags. Good theology matters more than too many are willing to admit or recognize.

I hope they find these people before something bad happens.