Daily Archives: 9 Apr 2011

The First Zurich Disputation: Putting Lent in the Ground

P. Schaff relates

During Lent, 1522, Zwingli preached a sermon in which he showed that the prohibition of meat in Lent had no foundation in Scripture. Several of his friends, including his publisher, Froschauer, made practical use of their liberty.  This brought on an open rupture. The bishop of Constance sent a strong deputation to Zurich, and urged the observance of the customary fasts. The magistracy prohibited the violation, and threatened to punish the offenders (April 9, 1522). Zwingli defended himself in a tract on the free use of meats (April 16). Von Erkiesen und Fryheit der Spysen. It is his first printed book. He essentially takes the position of Paul, that, in things indifferent, Christians have liberty to use or to abstain, and that the Church authorities have no right to forbid this liberty. He appeals to such passages as 1 Cor. 8:8; 10:25; Col. 2:16; 1 Tim. 4:1; Rom. 14:1–3; 15:1, 2.

On April 7-9, 1522 Zwingli and his colleagues and the representatives of the Bishop met in Zurich and debated the issue. The Bishop’s side lost. Or rather, was defeated in grand style.

The bishop of Constance issued a mandate to the civil authorities (May 24), exhorting them to protect the ordinances of the Holy Church. He admonished the canons, without naming Zwingli, to prevent the spread of heretical doctrines. He also sought and obtained the aid of the Swiss Diet, then sitting at Lucerne. Zwingli was in a dangerous position. He was repeatedly threatened with assassination. But he kept his courage, and felt sure of ultimate victory. He replied in the Archeteles (“the Beginning and the End”), hoping that this first answer would be the last.

And it all started with a sausage. It’s funny how little things can precipitate tremendous changes.

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Posted by on 9 Apr 2011 in Church History, Zwingli


The Disciples: An Observation

The only thing the disciples all did together was flee from the Garden of Gethsemane.


Posted by on 9 Apr 2011 in Bible


So What If I’m a Science Nerd?? (via Nuclear Knitting)

What’s science?

So What If I'm a Science Nerd?? So, maybe a periodic table shower curtain is at the top of my wish list (have you seen the one on Big Bang Theory? SO COOL!). And maybe I carry a small periodic table with me at all times. And maybe this is the back of my computer: And maybe my clock has scientific formulas instead of numbers: So what?? -R             … Read More

via Nuclear Knitting

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Posted by on 9 Apr 2011 in Modern Culture


Thonemann on the ‘Lead Codices’ Fakes, In The Scottish Press

Peter Thonemann (who looks to be about 15 years old- and I mean that as a compliment) is mentioned in the Scottish Sunday Express in an essay detailing his perspective of the so called ‘lead codices’.

Dr Peter Thonemann, a specialist in Greek inscriptions and lecturer in ancient history and archaeology at Wadham College, Oxford, says they are fakes that “any expert would see through in five or 10 minutes”.  Archaeologist and biblical scholar, David Elkington believes, however that the 70 lead and copper books, or codices, found in Jordan could be among the earliest Christian documents, predating the writings of St Paul.  After being sent photographs by e-mail by Mr Elkington, Dr Thonemann is convinced the credit card-sized books were made within the past 50 years in the Jordanian capital Amman.

I’m fairly sure it’s more than exaggeration – no, I know it is an absolute inaccuracy – for the Express to call Elkington an archaeologist and biblical scholar.  He’s neither.  The media just doesn’t care about being accurate even in little things like getting descriptions of people right.

Read the rest.  Nothing new.  But at least the press is sort of trying to get it mildly right.

UPDATE: James McGrath was seconds later with his comments, which are worth noting.

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Posted by on 9 Apr 2011 in pseudo-archaeology, pseudo-christianity, pseudo-scholarship



Vote for the best Peeps diorama.  I’ll go ahead and admit that I love this one!

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Posted by on 9 Apr 2011 in Modern Culture


Clouds of Witnesses: An Appreciation in Place of a Review

Adrianna sent a copy of this volume a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been meditating my way through it since it arrived.  Mind you, it’s not a devotional book and I sincerely doubt that it was intended to be used like one, but that’s what I’ve been doing to it.  Clouds of Witnesses: Christian Voices from Africa and Asia tells the story of Christians on those continents that are simultaneously stirring and inspiring.

I have to say, if you’re wanting to read brief biographies of people you probably have never heard of but who have done magnificent things for Christ, do yourself a favor and read this volume.  I seriously doubt that you will regret it.

Noll and Nystrom describe in fantastic details the lives and significance of a lot of people-

Southern Africa
1 Bernard Mizeki (c. 1861–1896): The First Anglican African Martyr
2 John Chilembwe (c. 1870–1915): Holistic Christian and Accidental Rebel
3 Albert Luthuli (1898–1967): Gentleman of Justice

West Africa
4 William Wadé Harris (c. 1865 –c. 1929): Passionate Prophet
5 Byang Kato (1936–1975): Theological Visionary

East Africa
6. Simeon Nsibambi (1897–1978): Revival Anchor
7 Janani Luwum (1922–1977): Martyr of “the Second Century”

8 Pandita Ramabai (1858–1922): Christian, Hindu, Reformer
9 V. S. Azariah (1874–1945): Bishop, Statesman, Pastor
10 Sundar Singh (1889–1929?): Mysterious Mystic

11 Sun Chu Kil (1869–1935): Pastor and Founding Father

12 Dora Yu (1873–1931): Catalyst for an Enduring Chinese Faith
13 Mary Stone /Shi Meiyu (1873–1954): Agent of Change
14 John Sung /Song Shangjie (1901–1944): Firestorm Evangelist
15 Yao-Tsung Wu /Wu Yaozong (1893–1979): Communist and Christian
16 Wang Mingdao (1900–1991): Imprisoned by Choice
17 Ignatius Cardinal Kung/Kung Pin-Mei (1901–2000): A Catholic Valiant for Truth

Take 17 days and read one chapter a day.  It will do you FAR more good than the 17 Day Diet will.  You don’t even have to read them in order.  I actually started with the section on China because of a renewed interest (of my own) in that amazing culture  and its Christian witness stirred by Diarmaid MacCulloch’s brilliant volume Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years.

Yes, dear readers, Cloud of Witnesses is brilliant.


Posted by on 9 Apr 2011 in Books, Church History


Another Essay Worth Perusing

Aren has been kind enough to send along a copy of his essay

Maeir, A. M., and Gur-Arieh, S. 2011. Comparative aspects of the Aramean Siege System at Tell es-Sāfi/Gath. Pp. 227–44 in The Fire Signals of Lachish: Studies in the Archaeology and History of Israel in the Late Bronze Age, Iron Age and Persian Period in Honor of David Ussishkin, eds. I. Finkelstein and N. Na’aman. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns.

Given the fact that I earlier today posted mention of a couple of essays which Alexander sent along, also from the aforementioned volume, I think I might have to get a copy.

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Posted by on 9 Apr 2011 in Archaeology, Books


AMAZING! You Have to Watch This

It’s fantastic.  And if you don’t know the tune, it’s JS Bach’s ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’.  With thanks to Ron for pointing it out.

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Posted by on 9 Apr 2011 in Modern Culture


Rossini Festival 2011

Rachel and I visited Knoxville’s Rossini Festival this morning and it was great fun.  I snapped a few photos.  You’ll be able to tell what they are without much trouble.

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Posted by on 9 Apr 2011 in Modern Culture


It’s a Party in Philadelphia

ABC News reports that while kids were at a party in Philadelphia, an 18 year old lost his life.

One teenager is dead and eight others have been injured after a late-night shooting at a girl’s 18th birthday party outside of Philadelphia.   Police said today that they have a suspect in custody, but they have not said what they believe led to the shooting at 11:30 p.m. Friday at Minaret Temple No. 174 in Chester, Pa.  Police brought in for questioning dozens of people who were at the hall at the time of the shooting. The building was reportedly locked down.  One victim was shot in the head, and two firearms were recovered at the scene, according to Chester police.  Two shooting victims were in critical condition this morning while six others were in stable condition at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, according to police.

All with no explanation or motive.  Party?  Hardly.

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Posted by on 9 Apr 2011 in Total Depravity


There Are Cruel and Vicious People Afoot

A baby boy has been taken to hospital in a critical condition after receiving multiple stab wounds. Officers arrived at a house in Birmingham to discover the two-month-old infant bleeding from several wounds, a spokesman for West Midlands Police said. An ambulance was called and the child is currently being treated at an undisclosed hospital. A 37-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

No comment necessary.

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Posted by on 9 Apr 2011 in Total Depravity


How Joel and Jeremy Can Take #1

It’s really simple and I’m surprised they haven’t thought of it yet.  Joel and Jeremy can become the most widely read bibliobloggers simply by doing what sports stars and celebrities all over the world have done- admit they are recovering drug and alcohol addicts!

Come on guys, admit your failures.  Everyone loves a trying loser!  Then they can become what they desire-  #1.


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Posted by on 9 Apr 2011 in Modern Culture


Protesters Are Back in Tahrir Square…

And apparently shots have been fired and protesters have hurled rocks into the Cairo Museum…

Demonstrators burned cars and barricaded themselves with barbed wire inside a central Cairo square after troops violently dispersed an overnight protest injuring at least 10. Hundreds of soldiers beat protesters with clubs and fired into the air in the pre-dawn raid on Cairo’s central Tahrir Square in a sign of the rising tensions between Egypt’s ruling military and protesters. Witnesses said at least two people were killed, but the military and local hospitals have denied there were any fatalities.

Fortunately Egypt doesn’t export much oil so we don’t have to worry about American military intervention…


Posted by on 9 Apr 2011 in Modern Culture


Old, Tired, Worn Out, and Boring

No, I’m not describing Chris Tilling or Joel Watts (though it does fit Jeremy Thompson), I’m describing the ‘does God exist’ debate.  I have to agree with this sentiment, expressed in an interesting essay (that I heard about from Joseph Hoffmann) –

This cultural obsession with the question of God has ceased to be instructive and is beginning to be uninteresting.

Except I would say it is already uninteresting.  Indeed, it is old, tired, worn out, and boring.  All the ‘atheist’ v. ‘Christian’ debates prove nothing to anyone and only confirm what hearers already assert.

Atheists won’t be won to faith by argument; it will take nothing less than the action of the Holy Spirit in atheistic hearts (just as it takes the action of the Holy Spirit to convert any and every person).

No one has ever been argued into belief or unbelief for that matter.  Atheists are atheists either because they’re raised that way and that’s their engrained faith; or they were once believers but God didn’t kow-tow to their wishes or act according to their self centered expectations and so they came to believe in unbelief and put their trust in the most paltry and unreliable of things- the human mind.

[You have to be something of a dolt to believe the human mind can figure out the mystery of existence].

Anyway, the whole debate is, to put it bluntly, a huge waste of time.  It’s time, in fact, for it to die.  Because God hasn’t and won’t.


Posted by on 9 Apr 2011 in Modern Culture


‘Show Me the Money’: Some Jewish Settlers Will Move, if the Price is Right

Newly revealed WikiLeaks documents quote a Jewish settler leader as saying some residents of West Bank settlements would be willing to relocate in exchange for compensation, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported Friday.  Publicly, Dani Dayan, leader of the Yesha settler council, has made forceful declarations that settlers will not leave their homes under any circumstances.  Palestinians seek the West Bank for part of a future state and want the 300,000 Jewish settlers there to leave as part of a peace deal with Israel.

Perhaps the public bluster and the oft heard ‘our land’ line are just ways of jacking up the price for leaving.  If the ‘Promised Land’ can be abandoned for the right Shekel amount, maybe it’s not all that important after all.

In one of the [leaked] documents, written by U.S. diplomats in Israel, Dayan is quoted as saying that some settlers will move in return for proper compensation.  “I’m an economist, and I know that some people will take it if the price is right,” he is quoted as saying.  The report also said that Dayan expressed embarrassment over settler violence and that he “understood” the Palestinian connection to West Bank lands.

It seems cynicism should be the default position these days.  Money is the god of this age.  Even for lots of ‘religious’ people.


Posted by on 9 Apr 2011 in Modern Culture


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Join the ‘Simcha’ Fan Club…

Over 680 people already have….  And you can too…   I appreciate Joe Zias telling me the ‘good news’.  It’s for people who

A group for everyone who…

has danced along to “The Naked Archaeologist” theme song.
has seriously considered becoming an achaeologist.
actually believed the story of “The Lost Tomb of Jesus”.
sat through “Falasha” just because he made it.
now knows the real reason why Herod was such an [expurgated expletive].
realized that the world can’t come to an end without the tekhelet dye.
can make ancient Biblical love pancakes.
has tried to imitate his accent.

Indeed, if any of those apply to you, you really do belong in Simcha’s camp.

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Posted by on 9 Apr 2011 in Dilettante, pseudo-archaeology


Some Essays Worth Reading

Fantalkin, A., Finkelstein, I. and Piasetzky, E. 2011.
Iron Age Mediterranean Chronology: A Rejoinder. Radiocarbon 53: 179-198.

Fantalkin, A. 2011.
Why Did Nebuchadnezzar II Destroy Ashkelon in Kislev 604 B.C.E.? In: Finkelstein, I. and Na’aman, N. eds. The Fire Signals of Lachish: Studies in the Archaeology and History of Israel in the Late Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Persian Period in Honor of David Ussishkin. Winona Lake (Eisenbrauns): 87-111.