Daily Archives: 16 Jan 2012

I Share The Dream

When You Have to Go All the Way Back to Troeltsch For Your Philosophical Underpinning…

Your argument has issues. And so, for that reason, does Kenneth Atkinson’s new piece in Bible and Interpretation. In it, towards the end, Atkinson opines

SBL as an academic society must adopt a thoroughly historical-critical perspective and not accept Scripture as the infallible word of God nor the word of God as mediated by mortals, but as a humanistic document analogous to the rich worldwide body of ancient historical and religious writings. Confessional or faith-based scholarship has no role at SBL and belongs elsewhere. What this may mean for SBL’s future is uncertain, but it will likely create a great loss in numbers and a dwindling of its financial revenues.

He apparently hasn’t heard – but here’s the thing: the ‘historical-critical’ method is dying and in most academic biblical study it’s dead. Why would we, why should we want to return to the cul-de-sac of historical criticism with its circular reasoning and fruitlessness when we can instead invest our time in more promising ‘Reception-Historical’ studies and ‘Cultural-Memory’ studies? Why would we want to, like a dog, return to the vomit that we (well most of us) left by the wayside years ago?

The issue isn’t the irreligiousness which Hendel (evidently) desires or Avalos or Atkinson; the issue is to apply the best methodologies at hand in order to bring to light what lies hidden (and not all that hidden). It has nothing to do with faith or unbelief, it has to do with intention and purpose.

Historical-criticism got us no where except trapped in a bubble from which we have just now escaped. Atkinson can re-enter it if he wishes (under the pretense of wanting to avoid those dreadful faith people) – but I prefer the fresh air. Besides, who wants to listen to the advice of a syphilitic like Troeltsch? The only thing he can tell you is where to pick up the rankest disorders.

The Imposition of Government

The Law in These Parts – English trailer from The Law in These Parts on Vimeo.

Rick Santorum: The Billion Dollar Hypocrite

Santorum keeps hobbling around the country talking about smaller government and less intrusion and lower taxes.  Meanwhile, while the hypocrite was in Congress he managed to siphon off billions for his district from the rest of the Country’s taxpayers.

 In Rick Santorum’s days in the Senate, lawmakers didn’t have to disclose their earmarks—but a New York Times analysis shows that Santorum had a lot of them, and that they were often followed by large campaign contributions from the companies they benefited. In one defense bill, for example, Santorum helped secure $124 million in earmarks. In the ensuing election cycle, the beneficiaries donated more than $200,000 to his campaign and PAC.  The watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense estimates that Santorum secured more than $1 billion in earmarks from 1995 to 2006, and though the murky disclosures of the time make it hard to compare that directly to his contemporaries, budget analysts say it’s safe to call him a “vigorous practitioner.”

Santorum wants smaller government so he can take a big chunk of what the government does get for his own little hovel.  The more religious-sounding these politicians, the less trustworthy they are.  He doesn’t care about the Country- he cares about his job.

Excerpts From ‘An Open Letter to Christian Zionists’

Here’s the salient part-

This letter, though, is not about religious Jewish Zionism and its destructive effects on Israeli policy. It is about the Christian version of the same belief. This Christian version of Zionism matters deeply, not just because theology intrinsically matters, but because it is overwhelmingly clear that American evangelical-fundamentalist Christian Zionism affects US policy toward Israel and the Palestinians in distressing ways. It is one reason why the United States stands almost alone in the world community in supporting Israeli policies which our international friends generally find intolerable if not immoral and illegal.

Not to put too fine a point on it, we wish to claim here that the prevailing version of American Christian Zionism—that is, your belief system—underwrites theft of Palestinian land and oppression of Palestinian people, helps create the conditions for an explosion of violence, and pushes US policy in a destructive direction that violates our nation’s commitment to universal human rights. In all of these, American Christian Zionism as it currently stands is sinful and produces sin. We write as evangelical Christians committed lifelong to Israel’s security, and we are seriously worried about your support for policies that violate biblical warnings about injustice and may lead to the outcome you most fear—serious harm to or even destruction of Israel.

You can, and should, read the rest here.  It’s the truth.  I’ve highlighted the core of it and the very reason I find Christian Zionism so utterly unacceptable, so utterly un-Christian.

The Common English Bible’s Translation of 1 Corinthians 6:9ff

Don’t you know that people who are unjust won’t inherit God’s kingdom? Don’t be deceived. Those who are sexually immoral, those who worship false gods, adulterers, both participants in same-sex intercourse, thieves, the greedy, drunks, abusive people, and swindlers won’t inherit God’s kingdom. That is what some of you used to be! But you were washed clean, you were made holy to God, and you were made right with God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

It’s actually quite a brilliant thing they’ve done translating οὔτε μαλακοὶ οὔτε ἀρσενοκοῖται with ‘both participants in same-sex intercourse’. That is, the passive and the active partners in said intercourse are both, together, called to account.

The reason that the rendering of the CEB is so important is because 1) it’s faithful (in the extreme) to both the underlying Greek and the receptor language, English; and 2) far too many people think that only the passive partner is liable to divine displeasure. Indeed, that argument is regularly made.

Here, however, thanks to the good work of the translators of the CEB, that misprision, or perhaps even simple misrepresentation, is undercut and denuded of any persuasive power.

People may claim what they wish and believe what they like; but they are not free to say that Paul (or other writers) held their views when those views are clean contrary to what they themselves have written in clear and precise language.  Paul here clearly declares that

… both participants in same-sex intercourse, thieves, the greedy, drunks, abusive people, and swindlers won’t inherit God’s kingdom. That is what some of you used to be! But you were washed clean, you were made holy to God, and you were made right with God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Governor Perry Thinks US Marines Urinating on Dead People is OK

Which just shows what sort of person he is and what sort of human being he aspires to.

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry said on Sunday it would be “over the top” to file criminal charges against four US Marineswho urinated on dead militants in Afghanistan.  The incident, captured in a video posted online that depicts American troops desecrating the bloodstained corpses of fighters, has appalled Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai and embarrassed the Pentagon.  “These kids made a mistake, there’s not any doubt about it,” Perry, the governor of Texas who is trailing most of his rivals in the battle for the Republican nomination for the November election, told CNN.  “But the idea that this administration would go after these young people for a criminal act is, again, over the top.”

Governor not only should they be prosecuted, they should be dishonorably discharged and imprisoned for the violation of a corpse, at the very least.  They’ve disgraced us all.  Your suggestion, Governor, is itself disgraceful.  True patriots don’t turn a blind eye or deaf ear to evil and injustice, they denounce them in the strongest possible terms so that this country CAN be the kind of country we all want it to be.

Those who wink at evil are themselves evil.

Targum Lamentations for eSword

Christian writes

A reader has kindly made an eSword version of Targum Lamentations available. I do not use this tool myself, but Jonathan’s directions were these:

I’m sorry it has taken me so long to get this to you.  I have attached the E-Sword file for you of your Targum.  The file just needs to be copied into the E-sword program folder (c:\program files (x86)\E-Sword in most cases).  When E-sword is started it will be included in the Topic files.  For the Newest version of E-sword it will be in Resource Library.  I would have put it as a Bible, but due to time and the fact that we are only dealing with a single book I thought this format would be easier.  Let me know if you have any questions or if you would like any changes made.

ESword is great! It’s a fantastic resource third only to BibleWorks 9 and Logos 4. Fantastic stuff and the fact that the Lamentations Targum is available for it is excellent.

You can find the file via this link (right-click or cntl-click and choose “save as”).

Where in the World is Chris Tilling Now?

This one’s sad.  It’s just another piece of evidence that drinking makes you do stupid things.

A Chicago man was charged with drunk driving, among a number of other charges, after he crashed into a police squad car — all while wearing little clothing. Arsenio Garcia Chris Tilling, 24, 87, of the 4000 block of West Potomac Avenue, was stopped by police just after 11 a.m. Sunday in the 2900 block of North Kilbourn Avenue after a concerned citizen alerted police to a likely drunk driver, the Chicago Tribune reports. After police tracked down Garcia Tilling, he drove the wrong way down a one-way street and crashed into a squad car. After the collision, Garcia Tilling “opened up the door and just fell out of the car” while clad only in underwear and socks, a police spokesman told the Chicago Sun-Times.

That must have been a horrific sight. I know from SBL how terrifying… *shiver*. I think it might be time for an intervention.

BBC’s ‘Big Questions’ = Big Disappointment

I’ve watched the episode from yesterday morning (with thanks to the cool program called Expat Shield which lets folk outside Britain watch British tv) and I have two words- big disappointment.

That disappointment isn’t aimed at the atheist side of the panel, but the Chrisitan. Surely the BBC could have assembled a brighter panel of experts. They needed a systematic theologian, a Christian philosopher, and a Biblical scholar who holds to the Christian faith. Instead they had a panel that they seemed to pick up off the streets of Manchester after the pubs closed on Saturday night.

Francesca did a good job. I could have done a good job on the other side. So could Christian Brady or Robert Cargill, or any of a couple of hundred biblical scholars I can think of. The next time the BBC has one of these things they should ask someone who actually knows the subject. Otherwise, it just looks like the deck is stacked.

I Love You Spam, You’re So Tasty…

From an attempted comment-

Oh silly spammer. I’m way famous. But thanks for the smiley face. It cheered me so.

Look, Let’s Face it, The People who Believe Jesus Never Existed Are Lunatics

Which is why it’s so nice to see their crackpottery rebuked.  Read James’ post and when a project (not by James, just to be clear, but by someone else) that is in process comes to fruition in which the nutbaggery of the mythicists is thoroughly exposed, read it.

[That last sentence is a tease- much, much more on the project later on].

Francesca Stavrakopoulou on BBC’s ‘Big Questions’

Thanks to the folk at the T&T Clark blog for this-

Newly minted professor (and T&T Clark author) Francesca Stavrakopoulou was on the BBC’s ‘The Big Questions’, broadcast yesterday. Iplayer link here for those in the UK. The programme debated the existence of God. I haven’t watched all of it, because my internet is a bit slow for such things at work (and, errr, because I’m at work). But the bit I did watch disappointed me a little because the theist arguments I heard seemed very simple, and to come from a wholly uneducated perspective.

I’ll be interviewing Francesca later this week about such things as this, and more.  Stay tuned.

More Political Dirtbaggery: Ron Paul, Mr. First Class on the Taxpayer’s Dime

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has been spending large amounts on airfare as a congressman, flying first class on dozens of taxpayer-funded flights to his home state. The practice conflicts with the image that Paul portrays as the only presidential candidate serious about cutting federal spending.

Paul flew first class on at least 31 round-trip flights and 12 one-way flights since May 2009 when he was traveling between Washingtonand his district in Texas, according to a review by The Associated Press of his congressional office expenses. Four other round-trip tickets and two other one-way tickets purchased during the period were eligible for upgrades to first-class after they were bought, but those upgrades would not be documented in the expense records.

Paul, whose distrust of big government is the centerpiece of his presidential campaign, trusts the more expensive government ratefor Continental Airlines when buying his tickets. Paul chose not to buy the cheaper economy tickets at a fraction of the price because they aren’t refundable or as flexible for scheduling, his congressional staff said.

In short, he places himself above the people he represents.  Naturally.  After all, he is  a politician and therefore a hypocritical dirtbag. So much for his claim that he’s against government spending.  He’s only against government spending when it isn’t spent on him.

The Tomb of the Egyptian Singer

Fascinating stuff here:

Archaeologists working in Egypt have discovered the tomb of a female singer in the Valley of the Kings.  The tomb was found by a team from the University of Basel in Switzerland who came across it by chance.  The woman, Nehmes Bastet, was a temple singer during Egypt’s 22nd Dynasty (approximately 945 – 712BC), according to an inscription in the tomb.  Previous tombs found in the valley were for members of ancient Egypt’s royal families.  Mansour Boraiq, an official at the Antiquities’ Ministry in Luxor, told AP that the coffin was remarkably intact and would be opened this week. Archaeologists expected to find a mummy with a burial mask molded to her face, he said.  Basel University’s Elina Paulin-Grothe said that the tomb was not built for the female singer, but was re-used for her 400 years after the original burial, according to AP.  The woman in the coffin – who lived almost 3,000 years ago – was the daughter of the high priest of Amon, Egypt’s Antiquities Minister Mohammed Ibrahim told AFP.

More Political Dirtbaggery

Down in Georgia

A Georgia Republican who wants all welfare reciepients subject to drug tests failed one himself after he ran a red light on Friday morning. The Atlanta Journal Constiution has the story on State Rep. Kip Smith (R).    Smith is a sponsor of Georgia House Bill 464, which would “require random drug testing” for citizens on public assistance. In response to Smith’s legislation, State Rep. Scott Holcomb introduced a bill last month that would require all state lawmakers to be subject to random drug testing.

Another politician who behaves badly while insisting that others behave well or they can’t get public money.  I think politicians who are arrested for anything shouldn’t get taxpayer money either.