Daily Archives: 19 Dec 2010

Quote of the Day

Morning Edition

Did you know “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” was originally a song written to mark the 400th anniversary of the printing press? We didn’t either. — NPR Morning Edition (on Facebook).

Who knew?? That’s fascinating, isn’t it?

NT Wrong is Re-Starting the Top 50…

And the criteria are such that I am doomed to the same miserable obscurity that so many of the other blogs presently enjoy. Oh well, it was fun to be #1 for the 5 or so years of my run…

The Coolest YouTube You’ll Ever See

This is so fun-

If Learning isn’t Done For Learning’s Sake, It is Always a Waste of Resources

Whether it be doctoral work or master’s level work or undergraduate work.  Any academic work done merely for the sake of income will eventually be nothing more than a waste of time and money itself.  Learning should take place because one wants to learn, not because one wants to line one’s pockets.  This is especially true of biblical scholars and theologians.  Any biblical expert or theological expert who thinks they will ‘get rich’ from it are fooling themselves (and ‘in it’ for the wrong reason altogether anyway).

Greed belongs to the business majors and the poly-sci kids; those already devoid of ethical standards.  Mercenary theologians, in contrast, ought forsake greed and study ‘to show themselves approved work-folk, who don’t need to be ashamed’.

Visit Jim Linville’s Most Recent Post

Why?  Because.  Here’s why.

(You’re welcome, James, you’re welcome!)

More Pastoral Misconduct

Up in Ohio, there’s been a string of arrests of people who participated in a child porn ring.

Among the 30 suspects arrested in the Operation Lake Effect child pornography-trading sweep were two local men. … Officers seized 1,821 items, such as computers, CDs, cell phones, flash drives, digital cameras and Webcams. In addition to the arrests made, 34 more cases have been referred to 23 law enforcement agencies outside of the county, including one in Indiana. Among those arrested was Dr. Mark Griggs, 48, of Berea. Griggs is the pastor of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Olmsted Falls. He was charged in a 112-count indictment that includes downloading, trading, and possessing child pornography. It is alleged that from July 2008 to November, 2010, Griggs traded child pornography over the Internet from his house and church. He is alleged to have downloaded and saved images of sexually abused children to his computer, images that show children being raped.

Why, people, why?  I pray to God that he never is allowed to pastor again.   The flock doesn’t need wolves tending it.

It’s A Blessing In Disguise…

All the snow in Paris has brought about the cancellation of Lady Gag(a)’s scheduled concert!  Hip hip, hooray for God!  A natural disaster finely timed to spare the good if dull Parisians the horror of the world’s worst pop singer (Justin Bieber is second).

It would be super fun if God would follow Gag(a) around with a constant deluge of snow before every show.  Sort of the way the cloud of dirt covers Pig Pen in the Peanuts comic strip.

[Now if I could just manage to throw in a few more celebrity names so as to boost my Alexa ranking and push McGrath and Halcomb completely over the edge of sanity into the dark despair of the nut-house…. hmmmm… who to mention who to mention…. oh I know!]

Maybe God could also follow Lindsey Lohan around and snow out her movies (though she does that pretty well herself); and Ben Roethlisberger (so he can’t play anymore and all the teen girls will lose interest in him since he’s not a jock).  And of course Garth Brooks (since he’s not a very good singer either).

Speaking of Hanan Eshel… Studies in Honour of Arnold Spaer

[Robert Deutsch was kind enough to pass along the following (in comments to the earlier post but which deserve a post of its own)]

Hanan Eshel has several contributions in the new  THE ISRAEL NUMISMATIC JOURNAL VOL. 17 , JERUSALEM 2010


Editorial Board: D. Barag, B. Zissu (editors), H. Eshel, R. Barkay, A. Spaer.  Distributed by Israel Exploration Society, P.O.B. 7041, Jerusalem 91070, Israel.


9 – DAN BARAG AND BOAZ ZISSU: A Tribute to Arnold Spaer

11 – A Bibliography of Arnold Spaer


34 – DAVID HENDIN: Hasmonean Coin Chronologies: Two Notes

39 – RACHEL BARKAY: The Coinage of the Nabataean King Malichus I (59/58–30 BCE)

48 – ZOHAR AMAR: The Shewbread Table on the Coins of Mattathias Antigonus: A Reconsideration


77 – YINON SHIVTIEL,BOAZ ZISSU, AND HANAN ESHEL: The Distribution of Coins of the Jewish War against Rome in Galilee and Phoenicia

88 – RONNY REICH: A Note on Coins from the First Revolt against Rome Discovered at Carnuntum, Austria

91 – HANAN ESHEL,BOAZ ZISSU, AND GABRIEL BARKAY: Sixteen Bar Kokhba Coins from Roman Sites in Europe

98 – ROI PORAT,EHUD NETZER,YA.AKOV KALMAN, AND RACHEL CHACHY: Bar Kokhba Coins from Herodium (Hebrew University Expedition)

106 – DAN BARAG: Halved Bronze Coins from the Bar Kokhba War

113 – BOAZ ZISSU,HANAN ESHEL,BOAZ LANGFORD AND AMOS FRUMKIN: Coins from the Bar Kokhba Revolt Hidden in Me.arat Ha-Te.omim (Mu™ gh.ret Umm et T.eim.n), Western Jerusalem Hills

148 – ROBERT DEUTSCH: A Note on a Medallion of Antoninus Pius from Neapolis: The Largest Medallion Minted in Palestine

151 – AVNER ECKER: The Coinage of Jaffa in the Roman Period

177 – YOAV FARHI: City Coins from Roman Palestine Made of Lead and Comparable Materials

187 – EITAN KLEIN: The Hercules Relief (Oscillum?) from Khirbet el-Karmil Reconsidered

198 – D. M. METCALF: Some Byzantine Lead Seals of Scholastici

206 – ALLA KUSHNIR-STEIN: Four Inscribed Lead Weights from the Collection of Arnold Spaer

213 – NIKOLAUS SCHINDEL AND WOLFGANG HAHN: Imitations of Sicilian Folles of Constantine IV from Bilad al-Sham

233 – NITZAN AMITAI-PREISS AND YOAV FARHI: A Small Assemblage of Lead Sealings, Weight and Coins from the Early Islamic Period

238 – DAN BARAG: A Hoard of Amalricus I Deniers from the Vicinity of Bethlehem

246 Obituary: Dan P. Barag
248 Obituary: Hanan Eshel
251 Obituary: Silvia Mani Hurter



Michael Halcomb is so distraught about the Top 50 and the constantly recurring superiority of me that he’s actually put together a new blog expressly for the purpose of ‘electing’ the top blog of each month!

What does he hope to achieve?  Me dethroning!

Bad news, Michael, it doesn’t matter how many people vote you or Davila or Goodacre or McGrath or anyone else #1 in their hearts- the fact will remain that, so long as I wish to blog, I’ll be read by more people than you or they.    I’m not being arrogant, I’m simply stating the facts.

Nevertheless, go to Michael’s fun little exercise in futility and vote often!

[Can you imagine how much a person has to hate me in order to go to such lengths?  It’s fantastic!   He’s completely obsessed with the idea of overturning my long rule as king of the biblioblogs.   Fantastic!]

UPDATE: McGrath has his own poll!  This is fantastic!!!  Soon, God willing, every single blogger will have his or her own poll and before you know it there will be hundred’s of competing number ones!  What brilliant fun it will be in San Francisco to see all the parallel sessions titled ‘Why My Blog is Number One- I Voted For Myself and My 3 Readers Voted for Me Too 800,000 Times!‘  This is going to turn out to be even more amusing than the Avignon papacy!

I recommend that everyone who writes a blog start their own poll.   Soon enough even those with no readers at all will triumph!

[This is a hoot!]

A Challenge

Since McGrath is continuing down the path of Challenges- I’ll offer one of my own- the ‘visits’ challenge.  This will be hard for some of you because you have a hard time being honest- but let’s give it a go anyway:  receive more site visits and feed readings than I do in the month of January.

That’s right, all you have to do, to put up or shut up (and hopefully stop the constant whining about Alexa that the likes of Halcomb continually proffers), is get more hits than I get here.

How will we know?  Blogger and WordPress both have stats features.  Keep a total of your daily visits every day of January and on February 1 post them.  This is where you’ll have to be honest.

So, let’s have a bit of fun.  Just do it.  Or shut up once and all and forever about site rankings and most read and all that.  How’s that for a challenge?  It’s simple, it’s easy, and anyone can do it.  I expect Halcomb especially to take part, since he’s the loudest complainer.  And if he doesn’t, well then we’ll just all know that his complaints are the petty whinings of 12 year old girl disappointed that she didn’t get to see the Twilight stars on the red carpet like her mom promised.

What will it prove?  Well it will prove that in the month of January you were #1 (and it will prove that all the whining about Alexa is just whining about nothing at all).  Numbers, you see, only count in ancient Israel.  No wonder, then, that when David numbered Israel God beat him down like a puppy that had peed on the new carpet.

So there you have it.  Count your visitors for all of January and post your total on February 1.  And don’t be a liar about out.

Remember that 11 Million Dollar Christmas Tree?

Emirates Palace, the most expensive hotel ever...

Well it seems that the hotel that put it up is having second thoughts.  Just a few days ago it was all happiness and smiles, and today there are frowns and scowls.

An Abu Dhabi luxury hotel that boasted an $11 million Christmas tree decorated with gold and gems admitted Sunday it may have taken the holiday spirit a bit too far.  A statement from the Emirates Palace hotel said it regretted “attempts to overload” the Christmas tree tradition by adorning it with premium bling including gold, rubies, diamonds and other precious stones from a hotel jeweler.  The statement was a rare bit of reflection on the Gulf’s ethos of excess. The tree was unveiled last week with full fanfare in a hotel that features its own gold bar vending machine and a one-week $1 million package that includes private jet jaunts around the Middle East.  But the hotel management apparently had second thoughts after questions arose about whether the opulent tree was innocent good cheer or unfortunate bad taste.

I wonder which extremist Muslim sect threatened to blow them into the afterlife for installing a Christian symbol.  One can hardly believe that their real motive was hesitation over extravagance.  Come on.  Gimme a break.  The whole country revels in its extravagance.

I’m Surprised We Didn’t Hear More About This…

Especially given that Scot McKnight was a presenter at an apologetics conference… at Rick Warren’s church…

Anti-Semitic Student Leader

Dot King pointed this out on Facebook and I think it a right fine idea that the ‘leader’ be removed from her position.

A radical student leader who dismissed the violent tuition fees protests as ‘a few smashed windows’ has been accused of making anti-Semitic comments on a social networking site.  Mature student Clare Solomon, 37, president of the University of London Union, helped co-ordinate the protests – during which a car carrying Prince Charles and Camilla was attacked – and declared herself proud of the students.  Now there are calls for Ms Solomon, the daughter of a Royal Military policeman, to resign after she wrote on Facebook: ‘The view that Jews have been persecuted all throughout history is one that has been fabricated in the last 100 or so years to justify the persecution of Palestinians.  ‘To paint the picture that all Jews have always had to flee persecution is just plainly inaccurate.’  Carly McKenzie, a campaigns officer for the Union of Jewish Students, said: ‘We have lost confidence in her ability to represent Jewish students.

I don’t know how things work in such student groups in Britain, but she should be impeached or replaced or fired or whatever they do.  She’s the Helen Thomas of London U.


Stephen Smuts’ post this afternoon piqued my interest by it’s title: Have You Seen this Man.

My ambiguous answer- yes and no.  Yes in the lives of some of his followers and no, decidedly no, definitely no, in society.  You’ll have to answer the question for yourself.  (Just like you have to answer for yourself, ultimately, why I’m so bloody popular and adorable).


I’ve only ever, before today that is, won one thing in my entire life (and that was an album from the local radio station in Phoenix when I was 11- a call in contest and I was caller # whatever it was).  I’m happy to say that that very long not winning stuff streak has been broken!!!!

Das Interesse an der Weihnachtsaktion war so beachtlich, dass ich noch zwei kleine Preise hinzugefügt habe. Unsere Töchter haben aus dem großen Topf drei Namen in der Reihenfolge 1-3 gezogen.

  1. Gerd Riegel hat die kleine Werkausgabe zu Dietrich Bonhoeffer gewonnen.
  2. Philipp Mertens hat das Buch Wahrheit und Liebe über Leben und Werk von Francis Schaeffer gewonnen.
  3. Jim West gewann das Buch Die Postmoderne und muss sich nun, möchte er es wirklich lesen, ernsthaft mit der deutschen Sprache herumschlagen.

Ich gratuliere den Gewinnern! Allen Teilnehmern, die leer ausgegangen sind, danke ich herzlich fürs Mitmachen!

Thanks Ron!

More on the Persecution of Christians in Iraq

It just keeps getting worse for Iraq’s Christians.

They saw their brethren murdered during Mass and then were bombed in their homes as they mourned. Al-Qaida vowed to hunt them down. Now the Christian community of Iraq, almost as old as the religion itself, is sensing a clear message: It is time to leave.  …  They have suffered repeated violence and harassment since 2003, when the interreligious peace rigidly enforced by Saddam Hussein fell apart. But the attack on Our Lady of Salvation in which 68 people died appears to have been a tipping point that has driven many to flee northward to the Kurdish enclave while seeking asylum in the U.S. and elsewhere.  What seemed different this time was the way the gunmen brazenly barged onto sacred ground, the subsequent targeting of homes by bombers who clearly knew every Christian address, and the Internet posting in which al-Qaida-linked militants took responsibility for the church attack and vowed a campaign of violence against Christians wherever they are.

Horror.    I wonder why other ‘bibliobloggers’ care so little about such an important historical event…   I guess LOST is on tv.

Remembering Hanan Eshel

Bar-Ilan University

Aren Maeir informs us of a conference in memory of Hanan Eshel.

On Sunday, January 2nd, 2011, the Second International Conference of the Jeselsohn Epigraphic Center for Jewish History, “Epigraphy and Daily Life – From the Bible to the Talmud”, in memory of Professor Hanan Eshel (z”l), will take place at Bar-Ilan University.

Go to Aren’s for the full details and a program.

I Weary of Whiners

Whiners, this sign's for you

Jim McGrath doesn’t seem to appreciate my superstardom.  Alas, he isn’t alone nor has he been for a long time.  Neither, it seems, does his ‘anonymous’ commentator.  But it’s easily explained-

1- I post.   Stop being lazy and you can post too.  Let’s face it, I’m just as ‘busy’, if not busier than most of the biblioblogging sorts.  I don’t have the luxury of teaching a couple of hours a day and then dashing off to play whatever video game is popular or watch the latest popular bizarre tv series and then talk endlessly about it.  I start working at 5 in the morning and I work till I go to bed at night.  Call it workaholism if you like, it’s just part of my nature and I’m not about to apologize for it to McGrath or any of the people who whine about my posting ‘too much’ (which is really rude anyway given the fact that I’ve never complained about any of you posting too little).

2- Posting ‘only’ strictly biblical studies materials is not, in my estimation, the end all be all do all of biblioblogging.  The bible is our theological foundation text and as such – theologically – is applicable to every life situation.  So when someone is totally depraved, that’s a biblical topic.  When someone accomplishes a fantastic deed, that’s a biblical (because theological) topic.  In sum, everything, and I mean absolutely EVERYTHING is grist for the theological mill.  If you don’t think so, that’s your problem, not mine.

3- McGrath writes

I have suspected for some time that the secret is neither sheer popularity nor totally depraved and dilettantistly Zwinglified content, but the sheer frequency with which he posts. Combined with the number of people who subscribe to his blog feed, that will translate into a lot of visits, even if those are from people who quickly skip over the photos of people at Wal-Mart or the expressions of climate science dilettantism.

Who knows but Mr Sciency is going to have a hard time proving that my popularity isn’t derived precisely from the fact that I connect the dots, theologically, with life in the streets. The fact, which McGrath deftly ignores, that lots of people subscribe to the feed indicates something whether he likes it or not. Unbeknownst to him and just about everyone else, the blog gets north of 30,000 hits a month PLUS feed reader ‘hits’ or whatever they’re rightly called. 30,000 visits a month + feed readers.  Maybe the problem with so many bibliobloggers is that they’re just downright boring and that’s why no one reads them.  But I’ll be darned if I’m going to become like them just to massage their frail fragile egos.

4- Finally, I blog because I want to. I blog on what I want, when I want, how I want, and believe it or not, I’m not going to change my methodology or blogging philosophy because MCGrath doesn’t understand it or because my being the most widely read biblioblogger annoys angry atheists like Avalos and Loftus or academics like Heard or Goodacre or Satan himself (who is, you’ll recall, the father of envy).

Go ahead, take McGrath’s challenge. Good luck. And if you find yourself ranked higher on Alexa (at present the only methodology which we have to indicate actual site ranking besides ‘feelings’ or ‘personal preference’) I’ll be the first one to blow the trumpet for you. Then, at least, McGrath and the herd of anonymous whiners who think his thoughts with and for him, will have another target. Unless, of course, #1 turns out to be Davila or Goodacre. Then, finally, there will be peace in the blogging kingdom (because, let’s be brutally honest for a second- the problem McGrath and the rest have is with ME personally and not my ranking.  And their problem with me is that I refuse to bow the knee to their academic Ba’al and I refuse to acknowledge their supposed positional superiority.  I’d rather teach students at the little school I do and pastor the little church I pastor for a week than play the ‘higher ed’ game as it’s presently played in America for a lifetime).

Mind you, however, if it’s war that McGrath wants, it’s war he’ll get.  I’m not exactly afraid of a challenge.