Daily Archives: 6 Sep 2011

What? The Koch Brothers Are Tea Partiers Funding Republicans???

Well who knew (aside from anyone with half a brain)?

This morning, blogger Brad Friedman, writing in Mother Jones and BradBlog, revealed a set of audio tapes from the last major donor meeting convened by the billionaire Koch brothers. There are a number of startling revelations from the scoop — but the opening remarks from Kevin Gentry, a Koch Industries executive at the firm’s DC lobbying office, blow the cover off the many Tea Party efforts underwritten by the billionaires in the Koch network of donors.

Duh.  The Koch brothers have never been anything but manipulative in their  political wranglings.  It was clear from the start that they have a Republican agenda.

I just feel sorry for the poor tea people that have actually wanted change in the system.  They were duped.

A Good Paper Boy

A 75-year-old woman in Texas got trapped in an outdoor chair overnight and might not have survived had her paperboy not pulled up about 5am, reports the Austin American-Statesman. Evelyn Rogers sat in the lawn chair about 6pm when it collapsed upon her. “I couldn’t get out of it, and I couldn’t turn it over,” she said. With her family out of town, Rogers spent the night tangled up, with only her faithful Chihuahua for company.


…when the 30-year-old newspaper deliveryman pulled into the driveway, she began screaming, the dog began barking, and he went to investigate. “I was just horrified,” he told the newspaper. “All of her was just sandwiched between two bars of the chair.” He couldn’t free her himself, but he held her hand until the ambulance arrived.

I applaud you sir.

What Languages Must One Know in order to be Competent in the Field of Biblical Studies?

I’d like to do something different than what Chris has (see his post for the background- and by the by, I’ve never heard of the people he’s responding to except the Duane guy – so this isn’t really part of that meme.  I’m just using it as a launching pad).

So, what languages must people know?  I’m going to answer in parts-

Part One- Pastors

Pastors need to know the Biblical languages: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.  At a minimum.  No pastor worth his salt will ‘kiss the beloved through a sheet’ and come away satisfied and none can expound the biblical text without being able to read it.

Part Two- Old Testament Scholars

These folk need to know Hebrew, Aramaic, Ugaritic, Akkadian, Eblaitic, and Greek.

Part Three- New Testament Scholars

Greek, Aramaic, Hebrew, Coptic, and Latin

Part Four- Text Critics

These need to know the relevant ancient languages of the text they are examining.  If an OT text, than all those which the OT scholar masters plus those of the NT scholar plus at least German and French.  If a NT text critic then, frankly, many more (since the NT is attested in numerous languages from up to the 5th century CE).

All of the languages listed by section above are the bare minimum for each.  It really is necessary to read one or more modern language as well so that one can keep up with developments in one’s field and not be shackled to the narrow parochialism so common of pastors and academics in North America.

Without mastery of the requisite languages, pastors will be deficient, and academics will be as well, incapable of understanding that which they profess to be explaining to others.

How Papyrus is Made

This is so bizarre!  Dot King posted this on Twitter and, lo and behold, this video is shot in the very shop I was in last time we went to Egypt!  ‘It’s a small world after all…’

Anyway, it’s an interesting snippet on the making of papyrus- which those of you who use Macs ought to pay attention to, since when your prized puter gives up the ghost forever, this is what you’ll have to do to write anyone:

Khirbet Qeiyafa in the News

Here at CNN they’ve done a video segment that’s worth viewing.  In case you’ve not seen it before (because they’ve run it before, so I’m not sure at all why they’re doing it again today).

Actually, Mark Driscoll has Already become the Glenn Beck of Evangelical Neo-fundamentalism.

Nice job, Bob. These maniacal heretics need to be exposed to the light of day.  But truth told, Driscoll’s lunacy isn’t the most disturbing part.  The most disturbing part is that there are SO MANY people willing to lap up his theological vomit.  That’s the truly disturbing thing.  But of course people prefer ignorance to truth and pseudo-Christianity to authentic faith.

You have absolutely got to be kidding me! Mark Driscoll is becoming the Glenn Beck of Evangelical Neo-fundamentalism. Scott has an excellent commentary on Driscoll’s latest diarrhea of the mouth. In sum, the words “delusional,” “bully,” “non-discerning,” “terrible scholar,” and “Mickey Mouse” are involved. Please allow me to add “nutjob.” (And I agree, Scott, methinks the Driscoll train is about to go off the rails.) It’s not enough to be a bully … Read More

via XKV8R: The Official Blog of Dr. Robert R. Cargill

Shut Up, Shut Up, Just SHUT UP!

It really is beyond tiresome that news organizations continue to talk about the ‘Miriam Ossuary’ as a ‘clue to the crucifixion of Jesus’.  It DOESN’T.  And those researching it have NEVER said that it does.  EVER.    So, news outlets, please, please for the sake of my sanity, SHUT UP about biblically related things.  It would be preferable for you never to report them than to report them wrongly (as you do 99% of the time).

If Teachers Could Speak Freely

They’d tell parents to start being parents!  And other things.

This summer, I met a principal who was recently named as the administrator of the year in her state. She was loved and adored by all, but she told me she was leaving the profession.  I screamed, “You can’t leave us,” and she quite bluntly replied, “Look, if I get an offer to lead a school system of orphans, I will be all over it, but I just can’t deal with parents anymore; they are killing us.”

But of course teachers can’t speak freely.  They have to coddle parents and school boards and whiners of all sorts who mistakenly think that being a teacher means being the doormat of the incompetent folk who never should have had children in the first place.

The piece continues

Today, new teachers remain in our profession an average of just 4.5 years, and many of them list “issues with parents” as one of their reasons for throwing in the towel. Word is spreading, and the more negativity teachers receive from parents, the harder it becomes to recruit the best and the brightest out of colleges.  So, what can we do to stem the tide? What do teachers really need parents to understand?  For starters, we are educators, not nannies.

Say, 4 years or less is about what the average Seminary Grad stays in the Pastorate!  I guess dealing with lots of Church folk as a pastor is just like dealing with the parents of school kids.

Read the whole piece and pass it on to a teacher that you know.

A Book on Sale You May Want to Buy

By Karl Barth.

God Here and Now offers a succinct and accessible overview of [Barth’s] thought. In it, Barth outlines his position on the fundamental tenets of Christian belief, from the decision of faith to the authority of the Bible, and from the interpretation of grace to the significance of Jesus Christ. In this way Barth challenges each and every reader to discover what it means to encounter God, here and now.

Gath, Greece, Hazael, and Things They Have in Common

Aren’s got a fine post up today! It’s not often that Hazael and Greece are co-ordinated on the blogs. But Aren shows why he’s done it.

The two farthest points of Hazael evidence! As you all probably know, Hazael king of Aram Damascus was an very important figure in the Levant in the 2nd half of the 9th cent. BCE. Needless to say, in relationship to Tell es-Safi/Gath he is quite well-known, as over the last 15 years, we have been excavating impressive evidence of his siege and conquest of Gath of the Philistines. This event, mentioned in II Kings 12:18 provides the southernmost, clear evidence of Hazael’s activities. And, … Read More

via The Tell es-Safi/Gath Excavations Official (and Unofficial) Weblog

Yorkshire is the Happiest Place in Britain

Some may disagree, but I for one love it there (and in Cheshire too, and Cambridge as well).  Anyway, the Telegraph reports

Almost six in ten people in Yorkshire say that they are satisfied with their lives compared to a national average of 50 per cent, according to Mintel’s annual British Lifestyles survey. Londoners are the least content in the UK, th just under half of them claiming to be happy.  Yorkshire-dwellers’ happiness stems from the county’s abundance of open spaces, Mintel said. This chimes with its UK-wide findings, which show that people who live in cities are more likely to be unhappy with their lot that people who live in the countryside.

Visit Yorkshire.  Visit Sheffield.  You’ll really be glad you did.  And maybe even happy.

Life in the Jewish Camp c. 70 CE

I know that this has already been mentioned in numerous other places but I’ve just seen this photo array and I think it’s spectacular.

The caves at Kirbet Madras-

The sprawling underground labyrinth was dug by Jewish rebels fighting the Roman empire. Archaeologists believe some of the maze could date back to the first century BC. It is a fascinating part of history which attracts visitors from across Israel. But it is virtually unknown to foreigners.

Take a look.  With thanks to הקרן לחקר ארכיאולוגי for pointing it out on the Facebook.

66 Years ago Today

On the 6th of September, 1945, Niels Peter Lemche was born.  I want to take this opportunity to say happy birthday to him!

Surely you know his work.  Surely you must.  And if you don’t, well now, you must familiarize yourself!  Off with you then- go buy and read one of his many informative and provocative publications.

And until you do, here are some slides of my friend and his environment:

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(Photos are copyright me, and may not be reused or duplicated in any way)

On the Clarity and Certainty of the Word of God

The preached Word of God is the foundation upon which everything should be built‘ wrote Huldrych Zwingli in a booklet he published on the 6th of September, 1522.  Von Klarheit und Gewissheit des Wortes Gottes is one of Zwingli’s early works and yet its theological outlook is mature and its position Reformed in the best and most historical sense of that word.

In fact, however, the booklet began its life as a sermon which was joyfully received and so Zwingli was urged to publish an expanded version of it, which he did.

In it, Zwingli assures his readers that the Word of God is not dependent on the Magisterium or tradition of the Church but on the guidance of the Holy Spirit as the authorized and legitimately appointed preacher delivers it.  The Holy Spirit breathes life into the written word and it becomes God’s word to us.  ‘The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life’.  Without the Spirit, understanding is impossible and heresy the outcome.

In coming years Zwingli would be forced to emphasize the fact that the Spirit interprets Scripture and doesn’t speak apart from it.  This because of the maniacal spiritualists and Re-Baptizers who began asserting that since they had the Spirit, they could toss the Scriptures into the rubbish bin (much the same way that emergents and Pentecostals do today).

I Don’t Use a Mac, So I Don’t Use Accordance. But…

It seems that the Common English Bible is now available in Accordance. So, those of you who use the demonically inspired Mac and with it Accordance, now at least you have some reason to not feel so badly about your wicked decision to do so.

Rejoice! You’re closer to the light and closer to the truth and perhaps, one day, if you read the excellent translation that the CEB is, you’ll leave the darkness and toss your Mac into the rubbish heap where it belongs.

If Most ‘Christians’ Sang What They Really Thought…

This is what it would sound like-

Does Anyone Care to Explain America’s Fascination With ‘Chaz Bono’?

What exactly has this person done?  Invented a better mousetrap?  Written a stunning novel?  Painted a brilliant portrait?  Cured cancer?  Is it really enough in America now to have a particular surgery to catapult persons who have done nothing to contribute to the betterment of society or humanity into the spotlight?

Are we, as a culture, so fixated on the idea of being famous that people are now famous just for being famous?  Have we really bought into the Paris Hilton lie?

If we have, and if ‘value’ and ‘importance’ are assigned to persons who do absolutely nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, then we really have become something none of us should or can admire as a nation.  We have become ‘Bono-ified’.  We’ve been chopped up and Frankenstein-ized.

No wonder, then, that the rest of the world just looks at us and gasps.

We Call Them Home Missionaries…

But the Brits call them ‘Pioneering Ministers‘.

Leeds is making an interesting name for itself in religious circles by appointing ‘Pioneering Ministers’ to a range of communities which the Anglican diocese sees as today’s equivalents of the traditional parish.  We’ve already got Rev Rob Hinton pioneering away in the Business Community – a post created in 2009 – and Rev James Barnett has been doing the same in New Communities since last year.  Now Pastor Beth Tash takes on the most eye-catching job yet, as Pioneering Minister to the Night Time Economy. She’ll be commissioned on Wednesday evening, 7 September, appropriately as twilight gathers over the hotspots in The Calls, Lower Briggate and elsewhere.

It’s a bit odd that a lot of fuss is being made of a missionary going to work in a district of the city which needs outreach.  It’s almost as though the very concept of missions or lived evangelism is new.  Alas, it’s as old as Christianity itself.  It’s as old as the theologian of the Gospel of Matthew.  It’s just the modern application of the ancient admonition, ‘as you go, then, make disciples’.

Leeds gets its first church minister in downtown outreach?  Really?  Its first?  What’s the church there been doing all these years?  What have the Christians there been doing?    Have the Anglicans JUST NOW discovered Matthew 28?

The Worst Uniform Ever, Anywhere, for Anything

Maryland, you should be ashamed.  And your designer (Joel Watts??) should be fired, and exiled.

But it does suggest a new U Maryland motto:

Maryland: combining confusion and ugliness.

The UCL Petrie Collection Online

Egyptologists (and those interested in Egypt) rejoice!

This is the searchable dataset for all 80,000 artefacts preserved in the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, with one photograph for each item. To start searching right away, click on ‘Search’ above.

The Museum houses one of the largest archaeological collections in the world for Egypt and Sudan. It is named after William Matthew Flinders Petrie (1853-1942), appointed in 1892 as first UCL Edwards Professor of Egyptian Archaeology and Philology.