Daily Archives: 8 Sep 2011

A Legitimate Threat, And Gallows Humor

Doubtless you’ve heard that there’s evidence that three persons have entered the country and may have plotted to attack a target in DC or NYC on 9/11.  In response to that fact, one of our local TV persons has tweeted

Will Terror Alert be raised to Code Boehner? Somewhere between beige and mauve.  — Jim Wogan

I don’t care who you are, that’s funny!



Pass the President’s jobs bill.  Just pass it.  Don’t give excuses as to why you can’t.

Vote for it or rest assured, we will not be voting for you.


Conference Announcement:Text History of the Hebrew Bible (Nebi’im) Between the 4th and 1st Centuries BCE: Multiplicity of Text Types and/or Hierarchy among Them?

International Symposium – November 4th-5th 2011  — Text History of the Hebrew Bible (Nebi’im) Between the 4th and 1st Centuries BCE: Multiplicity of Text Types and/or Hierarchy among Them?

University of Fribourg, Miséricorde – Room 3120 (nov. 4th) and 3024 (nov. 5th). Institut Dominique Barthélemy, Université de Fribourg


Friday, November 4th (Room 3120)

9h00 Coffee

9h30-10h45 Adrian Schenker, Fribourg : Die Tiqqune sopherim im Horizont der biblischen Textgeschichte in vorchristlicher Zeit

10h45-11h00 Break

11h00-12h15 Armin Lange, Vienna : The Book of Jeremiah in the Greek and Hebrew Texts of Ben Sira

12h15-14h00 Break – Lunch

14h00-15h15 Yohanan Goldman, Fribourg : La borne déplacée par les scribes. Incidence littéraire de l’étude du texte des Douze.

15h15-15h30 Break

15h30-17h00 Thomas Römer, Lausanne / Paris : From Deuteronomistic History to Nebiim and Torah: Competing Ideologies and their Reconciliation in the Persian Period

Saturday, November 5th (Room 3024)

9h00-10h15 Jan Joosten, Strasbourg : La place de la vocalisation tibérienne dans une édition critique de la Bible hébraïque

10h15-10h45 Break

10h45-12h00 Innocent Himbaza, Fribourg : MT and LXX as Witnesses to Malachi 1:1 and 3:22-24. A Literary and Textual Study.

12h00-13h45 Break – Lunch

13h45-15h00 Matthieu Richelle, Vaux-sur-Seine : Des allégeances cachées ? Le traitement des figures royales et des royaumes dans les éditions les plus anciennes de 2 Rois, porte d’entrée dans les origines de la multiplicité textuelle.

15h00-15h15 Break

15h15-16h45 Philippe Hugo, Fribourg : „Dreißig Jahre war David alt, als er König wurde…“ Literarische und textkritische Studie der Regierungsnotizen in Samuel

Information : PD. Dr. Innocent Himbaza ; Innocent.Himbaza@unifr.ch; +41 26 300 73 89 – http://www.institut-barthelemy.ch

[Via Agade]

Good Grief Google

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Google Plus has given me more invites to pass out.  Now I have 130.  Please, take them.  Having invites to Google Plus sitting on my account is like having credit at Amazon.com for books – I’ve got to get rid of it!

G+ is still pretty cool (in some respects better than Facebook).  If you haven’t tried it out, just give it a spin.  It won’t kill you.

Look, Be Honest, Reading One Short Book Doesn’t Make You an Expert

Here’s a thought- and a brief observation:  reading one or two books on Zwingli or the Bible doesn’t make you an expert and your opinion worth hearing.   But if you insist of pretending expertise, don’t be shocked if you’re justly titled dilettante.  And if you persist, here’s the only thing you’ll get (and it won’t be a hearing) –

Scholarship, real learning, isn’t achieved with minimum effort and scant investment in time or resources.  People really need to stop acting like it is.  It’s just dishonest and more than a tad annoying.

Courtesy Joe Zias: Photos and a Radio Interview Concerning the ‘Lead Codices’

I asked, Joe sent these photos and this radio interview (which is VERY much worth hearing):

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The objects are officially debunked and if you want your own you can go buy your own at any bazaar in Jordan.  Maybe then you too can sell yours on Ebay to some uninformed junk-collector.  (Which, you’ll recall, is what Robert Deutsch has said all along).

Ben Roethlisberger is the Worst Thing to Happen to Christianity since Todd Bentley

Ok that’s a bit of an exaggeration.  But not much of one.  And neither is this delightful news-clip from The Onion Sports Network.  (HT Tom Verenna on the FB).

More on Widening the Definition of NT Studies (via Sheffield Biblical Studies)

James addresses the issue again. Nice job it is too.

I want, in part, to respond to Larry Hurtado’s latest discussion of the whole language debate, partly because he interacts with my earlier post and partly to develop ideas about what the discipline might look like (not necessarily in disagreement or agreement with Larry). I was going to respond on Larry’s blog but I got carried away. I’m not sure people would appreciate an epic response in the comments section. Before I start, I should re-emphasi … Read More

via Sheffield Biblical Studies

Michael Licona Responds to the Accusations of Norman Geisler

In a note on Facebook, Michael writes

Norman Geisler has taken issue with a portion of my recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach, in which I proposed that the story of the raised saints in Matthew 27:52-53 should probably be interpreted as apocalyptic imagery rather than literal history. In response, Dr. Geisler has offered strong criticisms in two Open Letters to me on the Internet. Until now I have been unable to comment because I have multiple writing deadlines, two September debates in South Africa for which to prepare, and, consequently, no time to be drawn into what would probably turn into an endless debate. I shared these first two reasons with Dr. Geisler in an email several weeks ago. Yet he insisted that I “give careful and immediate attention” to the matter. I simply could not do this and fulfill the pressing obligations of my ministry, which is my higher priority before the Lord.

Dr. Geisler questions whether I still hold to biblical inerrancy. I want to be clear that I continue to affirm this evangelical distinctive. My conclusion in reference to the raised saints in Matthew 27 was based upon my analysis of the genre of the text. This was not an attempt to wiggle out from under the burden of an inerrant text; it was an attempt to respect the text by seeking to learn what Matthew was trying to communicate. This is responsible hermeneutical practice. Any reasonable doctrine of biblical inerrancy must respect authorial intent rather than predetermine it.

When writing a sizable book, there will always be portions in which one could have articulated a matter more appropriately. And those portions, I suppose, will often be located outside the primary thesis of the book, such as the one on which Dr. Geisler has chosen to focus. When writing my book, I always regarded the entirety of Matthew 27 as historical narrative containing apocalyptic allusions. I selected the term “poetic” in order to allude to similar phenomena in the Greco-Roman literature in general and Virgil in particular. However, since Matthew is a Jew writing to Jews, “apocalyptic” may be the most appropriate technical term, while “special effects” communicates the gist on a popular level.

Further research over the last year in the Greco-Roman literature has led me to reexamine the position I took in my book. Although additional research certainly remains, at present I am just as inclined to understand the narrative of the raised saints in Matthew 27 as a report of a factual (i.e., literal) event as I am to view it as an apocalyptic symbol. It may also be a report of a real event described partially in apocalyptic terms. I will be pleased to revise the relevant section in a future edition of my book.

Michael R. Licona, Ph.D.

August 31, 2011

I reviewed Licona’s book and my reaction was 180 degrees off Geisler’s.  I found it too conservative in its approach and too narrow.  This can only mean one thing- Licona stands somewhere between me and Geisler.  But Michael’s response to Geisler is very well done.

When You Dress Your Daughter Up Like a Hooker…

Don’t be overly shocked… well you know.

Wendy Dickey, the mom whose 3-year-old daughter wore a hooker getup for a Pretty Woman routine on Toddlers & Tiaras, defended her costume choices to TMZ, saying the child-size sex worker ensemble is “less revealing than gymnastics wear and swimsuits,” and “a lot less harmful.” Earlier, we pointed out that she could have paid homage to Julia Roberts with another outfit from the film. It turns out the girl did wear a “classy” dress from the end of the film, but TLC edited it out.

Mom responds

“I’m raising my child just as well as any mother does … I take my kid to church every week … at least I’m not forcing them into sports and getting my child injured like some parents … People need to look at their own family and what they’re doing. I don’t know why people are focusing so much on pageant moms when there’s much more harmful things people are letting their children do!”

Jezebel replies

Shame on those parents who encourage their girls to play sports! In addition exposing them to the perils of moving, they’re giving them the false idea that society will judge them on their abilities, not what they look like in a swimsuit.

I’d like it if Jezebel had inserted the word ‘to’ before ‘exposing’ thus resulting in a complete sentence, but you get the snark anyway.

We watch Toddlers and Tiaras.  It’s fascinating.  And I have noticed one overarching fact: pageant moms are living vicariously through their kids.  It’s a fact.  But it has to be said that sports dads frequently do the same thing.

I’m not sure when it happened that kids became a means to a parental end, but I guess it’s been going on for a long time.  A lot of people do it, even if they don’t know it or see it.

5 Reasons Paper Books are Better than E-Books

Read them for yourself.  And then take that e-reader and put it in the closet.  With thanks to Elaine Reid for the heads up.

More About the ‘Reformation Commentary on Scripture’

I’ve mentioned before the fascinating new series from IVP Academic titled the Reformation Commentary on Scripture.  Today in the mail a ‘sampler’ arrived:

It contains a general introduction and a short introduction to Galatians and Ephesians and then the ‘Preface’ to Galatians-

As you can see (just enlarge the photo) remarks by Erasmus, Luther, Tyndale, and Bullinger are repeated.  Next, the sampler includes a look at 2:11-14 and Luther, Sarcerius, Brenz,, Calvin, Maior, Gwalther, Olevianus, Bullinger, Perkins, and others are cited, as relevant, verse by verse.

It looks a really remarkable resource- bringing the Reformers (well known and little known and hardly known and unknown) to your study in conversation with the text and, I’d say, with the reader.  I’m even more keen to have the volumes as they appear now.

Tossing the Belgic Confession over the Wall

On the night of November 1 and 2 in 1561, Guido de Brès threw a specimen of the Dutch Profession of Faith (Confessio Belgica) over the castle wall at Doornik. The Theological University of Kampen will commemorate that event on Tuesday November 1 with a symposium.

It sounds fantastic (see here for the lineup).  I’ll be in Birmingham at exactly the same time for a different Reformation conference (which will be great as well!).

Ah, the Reformation… those were the days when men were men and heretics were dealt with properly.  *Sigh*.

Very Sad News: The Founder of the ‘Gutenberg Project’, Michael Stern Hart, Has Died

Michael Stern Hart and Gregory Newby, founders...

Hart, in the hideous shirt

From Zurich,

Der Pionier der Buch-Digitalisierung und Gründer des Projekts Gutenberg, Michael Stern Hart, ist im Alter von 64 Jahren gestorben. Der Schriftsteller starb am Dienstag in seinem Haus in der Stadt Urbana im US-Staat Illinois, wie das Projekt Gutenberg mitteilte. Das Internet-Angebot des Freiwilligenprojekts umfasst mehr als 36’000 Ausgaben digitaler Werke, deren Urheberrechte abgelaufen sind.


Das nach dem Mainzer Buchdrucker benannte Projekt Gutenberg begann 1971, als Hart an der University of Illinois die Amerikanische Unabhängigkeitserklärung in den Computer tippte und an andere Teilnehmer im Uni-Netzwerk verteilte. In jenem Akt kann man die Erfindung des digitalen Buchs sehen.

The Gutenberg Project was the first of its kind.  This is sad news, truly.  May he rest in peace, this true pioneer.

IMPORTANT Privacy Issue for Facebook Users

Please note the following:

Facebook recently unveiled the most dramatic updates to its privacy settings in a year. Out of all of them, there’s one new feature that you really must turn on as soon as it becomes available to you: profile review.

Here’s how to activate profile review.

1. Click on “account” in the upper right-hand corner of your screen, then click on “privacy settings.”
2. Next to “how tags work,” click “edit settings.”
3. Within the “how tags work” pop-up, click “edit” next to “profile review.”
4. In the next pop-up, click “turn on profile review.”

Now, whenever you are tagged in a photo or a post, you’ll have to approve it before it appears on in your news feed or your wall.

With thanks to Alastair on the G+ for pointing this out.  I’ve adjusted my settings.  Now, before someone can tag me in an unflattering photo, I’ll have to approve it.

Mr Bloomberg, If You Don’t Want Clerics Now…

I have some idea of what to say but I’m trying something new…  though you’re tempting me to speak my mind…

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is banning clergy-led prayer at this weekend’s events marking the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The mayor’s office says he wants to avoid disagreements over which religious leaders participate. Some religious groups are calling the ban a sign of prejudice against religion.

So instead of my saying anything to you, Mr Mayor, I’ll just let God (through Jeremiah) say something to those disinvited Clerics – :

וְאַתָּ֞ה אַל־תִּתְפַּלֵּ֣ל בְּעַד־הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֗ה וְאַל־תִּשָּׂ֧א בַעֲדָ֛ם רִנָּ֥ה וּתְפִלָּ֖ה וְאַל־תִּפְגַּע־בִּ֑י כִּי־אֵינֶ֥נִּי שֹׁמֵ֖עַ אֹתָֽךְ

Mazar in Melbourne

Louise Hitchcock writes on the Facebook-

An exciting public lecture is scheduled for Monday 19 September at Melbourne Uni, to be delivered by one of Israel’s foremost archaeologists, Prof Amihai Mazar, who will be talking on the fascinating subject of ‘A Tale of Two Cities: Ancient Beth Shean and Tel Rehov’. For more information and registration please click into: http://blogs.unimelb.edu.au/shaps/2011/08/15/a-tale-of-two-cities-professor-amihai-mazar/

Finkelstein v. Garfinkel: The ‘Ir David’ Smackdown

I’d love to be there for this:

Under the auspices of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Elad organization, and leading archaeologists, excavations take place year round in the City of David and vicinity, with hundreds of workers and volunteers. The enormous amount of work on this small area produces results that literally change the history books every year and percolate throughout the international academic world. This year will make its mark as well.

Events of the 10th Century BCE have been in the public and academic eyes in recent years. Two key protagonists in this discussion will face off by addressing different aspects of their research which directly and indirectly relate to David and Solomon’s Jerusalem.

Prof. Israel Finkelstein (Tel Aviv University) will analyze several major structures generally considered to be hard evidence of David’s City. His surgical analysis stone by stone and confrontation of academic paper by academic paper will certainly shake up and perhaps demolish conventional assumptions, throwing a stumbling block in front of easy explanations and diagrams.

Taking the other side of this debate, Prof. Yosef Garfinkel (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) will present a brand-new median theory of the Judean Kingdom’s origins and historical precedence based on his recent excavations at Elah Fortress – Khirbet Qeiyafa, overlooking the Elah Valley where David and Goliath fought. Garfinkel believes the mighty 10th century BCE fortifications, extensive pottery, carbon-14 analysis, ancient writing, text-related features, and other findings of his four excavation seasons now shed new light on other sites and together draw a picture of a regional polity in this region and this period which cannot be ignored.