Daily Archives: 2 Apr 2011

The Depths of Absurdity: The ‘Oldest Portrait of Jesus’???

The Mail has plumbed the depths of absurdity with their latest contribution to the ‘lead codices’ fiasco/fraud with the suggestion that one of them contains the ‘first portrait’ of Jesus’.  Seriously, that’s just stupidity and dilettantism of the rankest kind.

Come on people, enough really is enough.

Best Tweet of the Week

Nice handy chart 4 nxt time u hear Righty whine bout how hi taxes r, blame gov wrkers 4deficits & romanticize 1950s http://bit.ly/1ZI5yE — Cliff Schecter

Take a look at that chart and you’ll notice how high the tax rate was in the 50’s. Plus, ‘Righty whine’ is just a priceless little phrase. Republicans and tea people must really not know American history at all. It’s the only explanation for their lionization of Reagan and their idiotic claims that taxes are higher than they’ve ever been.

A fun video: CT editor David Neff on the KJV (via Grateful to the dead)

Worth a look (and much more interesting than the lead codices…)

I like a lively discussion of juicy Christian-historical material. This is just what Christianity Today editor David Neff has given us in this reflection, which is kind of a preview/companion to the new issue of CT on the KJV. David, you can do this kind of video any old time, and I’ll eat it up . . . and re-post it here. It’s the next-best thing to hanging out with you, which I don’t get to do often enough! [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch? … Read More

via Grateful to the dead

The Secret that Keeps Bibliobloggers Looking Young…

Aside, that is, from their unwavering desire to be #1 (as if… but the effort keeps them healthy).  No, the real secret to the young looks of Chris Tilling and James Crossley and Mark Goodacre and the others has been uncovered.  They dye their nose hair!

Here in the L’Oreal for Men laboratories, we know how it is, you’ve been around the block a few times, have a perfect family and your career is going great – even if it isn’t quite what you planned when you took that chemistry degree. You’re streetwise but still young at heart. That’s why it can be a shock on that morning when you first spot that embarrassing and unnecessary white nasal hair.  And that’s why we developed L’Oreal Men Nose White-Away with its specially developed Nostrilium Hirsutilox (r) formula that will restore the colour of your nasal hair in a range of rich, natural tones and add a glossy sheen and vibrancy to give your greying nostrils that luxurious just-blown glow.

If you want to keep that young look, and you want to be admired and adored (even though you clearly, and tragically, aren’t #1), try L’Oreal’s nose hair dye.  It will change your life (but not your visits).

Via David Meadows on FB.

Pranks Can be Costly

Just ask the teen girl in Illinois

A 16-year-old central Illinois girl has been given $150 in tickets after the worried victims of her April Fool’s Day prank called police.  Bloomington police say the girl texted her friend and cousin Friday morning and said she’d been robbed and shot in the foot.  The pair called police, who rushed to a home where they found the 16-year-old safe. She hadn’t been robbed or shot.  The (Bloomington) Pantagraph reports the girl received a $100 ticket for disorderly conduct and a $50 ticket for truancy because she wasn’t in school Friday.

And now, if she ever does get into trouble, no one will believe her.  The girl who cried wolf, as it were.  Remember, little ones, there’s a thing called ‘the law of unintended consequences’.  It’s best to ponder all the potential outcomes of a deed before doing it.  Learn to play chess.  It helps you think ahead.

Terry Jones May Put Mohammed on Trial (via Fr Stephen’s Blog)

Every Christian in America needs to denounce this lunatic and his lunacy. And those who belong to his ‘church’ need to leave it.  He is evil.

Terry Jones May Put Mohammed on Trial Terry Jones, the radical pastor who oversaw the burning of a Koran in his Florida church last month after a mock court hearing, may put the Islamic prophet Mohammed on trial in his next ‘day of judgement’, he told The Sunday Telegraph. “It is definitely a consideration to stage a trial on the life of Mohammed in the future,” he said in interview on Saturday. Such an inflammatory move would almost certainly trigger further violent protests in the … Read More

via Fr Stephen’s Blog

The Latest Issue of BASOR is Online


ASOR is pleased to announce that BASOR 361 (February 2011) has now been posted online at Atypon Link. This issue (and 4 years of back issues) is available to BASOR online subscribers and members who have chosen an online subscription as part of their membership.

You may access the table of contents for free here (members and subscribers will have complete access):


John Avalon of ‘The Daily Beast’ Scorches Terry Jones

It’s a brilliant and highly readable essay.  I especially enjoyed these bits

After dominating world headlines last September with the proposed stunt—which surfed off the protests surrounding the Park51 Islamic center two blocks from ground zero on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks—Jones had promised, “We will definitely not burn the Koran… Not today, not ever.”  But carnival-barker hate-mongers love attention, and Terry Jones reversed his pledge when he started to feel like maybe the world wasn’t hanging on every pronouncement that emanated from his ironically named “Dove World Outreach” church. And so, on March 20, he held a mock trial for the Koran in front of 30 parishioners.


It is a high-cost stunt. And the fact that it stands at the awkward intersection of constitutionally protected free speech and demagogic book-burning shouldn’t distract us from the real-world impact of Terry Jones’ ignorance. Sure, it’s worth reminding people that Jones could have burned a Bible on his grounds and no one would have been murdered in retaliation. But condemning him is not the same thing as caving to the threats of Sharia law.


Now Terry Jones is shedding crocodile tears, saying he is “devastated” by the violence, but it was entirely predictable. At the time of the book-burning, he also played sober and solemn, saying: “It is not that we burn the Koran with some type of vindictive motive… We do not even burn it with great pleasure or any pleasure at all. We burn it because we feel a deep obligation to stay with the court system of America. The court system of America does not allow convicted criminals to go free. And that is why we feel obligated to do this.”  This bit of self-delusion deserves extra scrutiny because it captures a strain of extremism we’ve been increasingly seeing: radical action as a reluctant obligation, an expression of fidelity to deeper principles.

There’s more.  I would only add, Terry Jones is no Christian and his Church is no Church.  He is simply the Fred Phelps of Florida, and nothing more.  He deserves the disdain he receives for the same reason that Phelps does: because both are deceivers and liars and misrepresenters of the truth.

Shame on the US and the UN for Standing by Actionless…

When barbarous cruelty is in full effect in Ivory Coast.  The Telegraph reports

The single biggest atrocity in the long battle for control of Ivory Coast has emerged after aid workers discovered the bodies of up to 1,000 people in the town of Duekoue.Charity workers who reached Duekoue said it appeared the killings had taken place in a single day, shortly after the town fell to troops loyal to Alassane Ouattara, the man internationally-recognised as having won last year’s presidential election. The apparent massacre came despite the presence of United Nations troops and – if confirmed – will cast a shadow over Mr Outtara’s assumption of the Ivory Coast’s presidency after a four-month battle to oust Lawrence Gbagbo, the former president who lost the November election but refused to step down.

Barbarians. If the Libyans are worthy of intervention for protection, why aren’t the residents of Ivory Coast? Is it because their skin is darker or because their ground is lighter (read, oil-less)?  Whatever the reason, it’s a disgrace.

A Toddler is Raped and Her Attackers are Defended…

A toddler was raped, but as horrific as the thought is, those who raped her shouldn’t be punished. You see, her attackers were just boys — 7- and 9-year-old boys who shouldn’t even know what rape is. Someone is to blame, but it’s not them.  It happened in Memphis this past summer. The 2-year-old victim’s brother, 5, saw it occurring and told his mom. Thank goodness he did. While the boys first blamed each other, they later admitted to the crime.  The boys are due in court today where prosecutors are recommending they be removed from their families’ homes and placed in state custody for treatment, not punishment. They want to determine what these boys have been exposed to that would make them do this to another child. James Sanders, the attorney defending the 9-year-old boy, told the Memphis Commercial Appeal:  What happened to this victim is horrible, nobody is minimizing that. But my client has a lot of problems and needs some immediate help. Somebody’s got to rescue this kid.  Someone has to rescue them all.

No.  Nein.  They obviously had seen or been taught to be what they are, and they should be punished or they will do it again.  If a 7 and 9 year old will rape a 5 year old, what will they do, if they escape responsibility, when they are 15 or 16 or 20?  No, the deserving recipient of compassion and pity aren’t the perpetrators, it is the victim.  And the victim alone.

I’m not sure what the full extent of the law is in cases like this, but that should be the punishment leveled.  To say that the boys who did this vile deed should not be punished is a massive mistake and will only teach them that ‘they can get away with anything they want’.  Too many in society already feel that way.  We don’t need sociopaths to be taught that lesson.  Not only should they be punished, they must be.  Evil knows no age limit either upper or lower.

Bombs don’t Discriminate

They don’t care who they kill because they have neither friend nor foe nor soul.  Sometimes, neither do the people dropping them.

An airstrike intended to thwart Moammar Gadhafi’s forces killed 13 rebel fighters in eastern Libya instead, the opposition said Saturday, but they described it as an “unfortunate accident” and stressed it did not diminish their support for the international air campaign. Opposition spokesman Abdel-Hafidh Ghoga said the slain fighters were hit Friday night as they moved forward, attempting to take back the oil city of Brega, while airstrikes were in progress. Seven fighters were injured. Ghoga said it was an example of the lack of coordination in the ranks that has proven a key obstacle to victory over the more organized Libyan military.

Bombs… they just kill.

Joel’s Giving Away one of James Crossley’s Books

Head on over and enter.  You get to pick which one if you win!

There are rules so you’ll have to read them. Still, very much worth the effort as Crossley’s books are awfully good.

Total Depravity: The 14 Year old Victim

Friends of a teenage girl stabbed nine times have revealed how they warned her against dating an older man. Schoolgirl Chloe West, 14, was attacked outside her school gates at 8.42am Friday morning. She was recovering in hospital on Saturday after undergoing surgery and was reported to be “doing well”. Sam Tomlinson, 18, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder and remained in police custody on Saturday. Miss West’s Best friend Ella Hill, 14, who witnessed the attack, said her friend had a relationship with Mr Tomlinson but it had been a secret and that her friends had warned her against getting involved with an older man.She said: “It was a completely secret relationship from the moment she first spoke about him last October.

The moral? Secret relationships are a very bad idea. If you have to keep your interests a secret, it’s a sign of awareness of impropriety.

If you’re in High School, date kids in High School. If you’re in College, date kids in College. And if you have to keep your dating life a secret, get out of it right now.

Did You Know You can be Arrested in India if you Convert to Christianity?

I didn’t either.  But here  you go

Orissa Police on Tuesday arrested twelve tribals for allegedly undergoing religious conversion in an ‘illegal’ manner.  According to sources, the tribals were arrested after a case was registered at Rasgobindpur police station in Mayurbhanj district for violating Orissa Freedom of Religion Act (OFRA).  The arrested, including nine women, were booked under Section 4 of the Freedom of Religion Act . Police are now on the lookout for two Baptist pastors who also have been named by the complainant.  Inspector In-Charge of Rasgobindpur police station, Santosh Das, told Press Trust of India that the twelve tribals arrested from Rasgobindpur area were produced before a court in Bairpada which sent them to jail.  The Orissa Freedom of Religion Act prohibits religious conversions without the prior permission of the local police and a district magistrate.   The order stipulates that a citizen wishing to convert must undergo a police inquiry to explain his or her reasons.

So much for freedom in the world’s largest ‘democracy’.   But of course here in the States no one cares what you convert to.  You can even convert to that most feckless of all religions, atheism, and no one will be bothered.

Another ‘Jesus’ Sighting

Via David Meadows on Facebook.  But this one’s even more of a stretch than all the rest.  And that’s saying a lot!

Looks more like Rumpelstiltskin to me.

WHEN his next door neighbour called over the fence and told him Jesus had appeared in his back garden faithful church-goer Ron Sims first thought he was joking.  But when the pensioner caught a glimpse of the concrete barbecue his friend had knocked down six years before he couldn’t believe his eyes.  Mr Sims, 77, of Magpie Bottom Lane in Hanham, said: “When I saw it I just couldn’t believe the likeness.  “It’s such a strong image, it’s almost eerie.”

No offense, but some new spectacles may be in order.

Quote of the Day

The tragedy of the Koran burning and riots in Afghanistan is the way extremists from Florida to Kandahar feed each other. –  Nick Kristof

Total Depravity: The Man Who Shot a 5 Year Old

A man has been remanded in custody charged with two counts of attempted murder following the shooting of a five-year-old girl in a convenience store. Anthony McCalla, 19, of Oakdale Road, Streatham, will appear next at the Old Bailey on June 10. He appeared at Camberwell Green magistrates’ court, in south London, charged with shooting Thusha Kamaleswaran, aged five, and bystander Roshan Selvakumar at a shop in Stockwell. McCalla, wearing a brown and white striped top and blue jeans, listened intently during the 15-minute hearing and spoke to give his name, address and date of birth. District Judge Sue Green refused an application for bail. Police have also arrested a 14-year-old boy on suspicion of attempted murder in connection with the shootings. Relatives are maintaining vigils at Thusha’s hospital bedside while detectives build up a “continuity trail” of the attackers’ movements.

What kind of person but one evilly depraved shoots a 5 year old?

A New Volume for Epigraphers and Students of the Hebrew Bible

Biblical Period Epigraphy: The Josef Chaim Kaufman Collection Seals, Bullae, Handles, by Robert Deutsch

From the Foreword-

The book is the second volume recording biblical period epigraphic material from the Josef Chaim Kaufman collection. The first volume published by the author: “Biblical Period Hebrew Bullae”, printed in Jerusalem in 2003, consists of 516 bullae and two seals. The present volume includes 387 specimens: 88 seals, 248 bullae and 51 stamped handles. Out of the 88 seals: 84 are Hebrew, one is anepigraphic (Judean), one is Hebrew Phoenician, one is Hebrew Aramaic and one is Moabite. Two additional Hebrew seals were presented in the first volume (Deutsch 2003, nos. 44f and 109a). Six seals were previously published and 82 seals are presented here for the first time. The Hebrew seals, including a Moabite example, are to be dated to the end of the 8th century B.C.E., through the beginning of the 6th century B.C.E., before the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar II in 586 B.C.E., while the Hebrew Phoenician and the Aramaic seals are dated to the post exilic period in the 5th century B.C.E. The seal collection was formed during the last four decades, since 1967; the seals were purchased one by one from antiquity dealers, mainly in Jerusalem.

The bullae are all Hebrew except for three anepigraphic and two Hellenistic. They were impressed by 231 different seals and there are 17 duplicates. The Hebrew bullae are to be dated also to the end of the 8th – through the beginning of the 6th century B.C.E. All are previously unrecorded. This group of bullae was collected in the last seven years, since the publication of the first volume. Their possible provenance is Khirbet Qe’ila, biblical Keilah (Josh. 15:44), located 13.5 Km. north-west of Hebron. Out of the 51 handles, seven are of the lmlk type, impressed by seven different seals. The majority, 42 handles, are impressed by 33 different official seals with nine duplicates. They are to be dated to the end of the eighth century, before 701 B.C.E., in the time of Hezekiah king of Judah. The two remaining handles are from the Persian Period.

The question of authenticity has been addressed in the first volume (pp. 11-12), nevertheless, some additional remarks can be added. All the items presented in this volume were meticulously examined by the author and were found genuine beyond any doubt. The recent tendency expressed by some scholars, to declare all unprovenanced epigraphic materials “questionable” and therefore worthless, is an approach which is to be unequivocally rejected. Such an attitude is rather destructive instead to adopt a constructive approach. The corpus of west Semitic epigraphic material unearthed in controlled excavations is significantly smaller than that from unprovenanced sources. Avoiding most of the historical information just because the material was found by non professional plunders is inconceivable. A proper analogously are the Dead Sea Scrolls which were looted by local Bedouins. Today, no scientific biblical research can be even imagined without them. The same is valid concerning the 14th century B.C.E. el-Amarna cuneiform letters. The majority of the clay tablets were found by farmers on the east bank of the Nile, about 300 Km. south of Cairo and only a minority were uncovered by archaeologists. The letters, which are part of the diplomatic correspondence between the Egyptian royal court and the Canaanite city-kings, are records revealing invaluable historical information unknown from other sources. Such documents can not be ignored simply because were not found in methodological excavations.

The importance of these volumes is self-evident and they are to be considered rescue publications. Their permanent value will increase as time will pass and they will serve as valuable reference books.

With thanks to Robert for telling me about it. You can order it from Eisenbrauns.

More From the Qur’an Burning Lunacy

Violent protests over the burning of a Koran in Florida flared for a second straight day, with young men rampaging through the streets of this southern capital, flying Taliban flags and wielding sticks.  Nine people were killed and 81 injured in the disturbances, all from bullet wounds, according to Abdul Qayoum Pakhla, head of the provincial health department. One of the dead was a police officer. Kandahar has long been the heartland of the Taliban insurgency but has been relatively quiet in recent months since a surge of additional American troops arrived here.

That’s in addition to those killed yesterday.  There’s evil aplenty in the rampaging mobs and there’s evil aplenty on the ‘pastor’ hate-monger who served as the flashpoint.  And there’s more than enough guilt and shameful behavior to go around too.

National Autism Day

April 2 is National Autism Day.  I hope you’ll take a few minutes and view this video which discusses the disease.  It affects a lot of children and a lot of families.