Daily Archives: 17 Jan 2012

Quote of the Day

Habes propheticum sermonem, habes oracula Christi, sat scio; permittes tibi vitam potius, quam illis unum iota adimi.  — Johannes Oeclampadius

Huldrych Zwingli’s ‘Sermones XXX. in undecimum caput epistolae ad Hebraeos’

With thanks to the Post Reformation Digital Library for the head’s up:  Sermones XXX. in undecimum caput epistolae ad Hebraeos : in quo de iustificatione, quae fit per fidem, agitur.  Published decades after Zwingli’s death, these sermons represent his interpretation of the Letter to the Hebrews (in the ‘Prophezei’).  The relevant segment of the volume commences here.  Before and after that central section are prefaces and letters to rulers and that sort of typical 16th century book stuff.

What fun!  Especially since this is the first time I’ve seen these lecture/sermons.  So now I’ve something to read when I’m wanting to step away from the usual chores and tasks.

The 5 Year Old Kid Who Stabbed 3, Over a Juice Box…

Our culture…  sick.  Sick to the very bone.  Watch the news video.  And weep.  Or if you’d rather read about it and weep

A 5 year-old is accused of stabbing three people in Virginia. It happened Monday afternoon at a mobile home park in Greene County. Police say the little boy used some sort of edged weapon. Neighbors believe the incident started over a juice box. Two children and one adult were taken to the hospital with non- life threatening injuries.

Occupy Wall Street Spent Donations on Tobacco and Rolling Paper…

Among other ‘necessities’.

 It turns out Occupy Wall Street isn’t great with money. The protest movement raised $700,000 last fall, but now all but $170,000 of that is gone, the Wall Street Journal reports. And now that protesters been evicted from Zuccotti Park and aren’t garnering media coverage anymore, donations have slowed to a crawl. What was all that money spent on? Mostly necessary things, like renting a U-Haul to carry hundreds of pounds of dirty laundry, or food for occupiers, though some other expenses have raised eyebrows.

Some, for example, questioned the $1,101 spent on homeopathic medicines, or the couple hundred spent for tobacco and rolling paper. “You may not like it, but it was voted on by the General Assembly,” says one member of Occupy’s accounting group. Now, that assembly is debating whether it should try fundraising, something some protesters oppose. “There’s a trap,” one reasons, “that the mission becomes more about sustaining the organization than its message.”

Rolling paper (for normal cigarettes, I’m sure), homeopathic meds…  That fairly well summarizes the ‘movement’.   So they need more money, for what?  And what’s their ‘message’ again?

Is The Merenptah Stele The Earliest Egyptian Mention of ‘Israel’? Maybe Not

… a new publication by Egyptologists and Biblical scholars Manfred Görg, Peter van der Veen and Christoffer Theis suggests that there may be an even earlier reference to Israel in the Egyptian record. Manfred Görg discovered a broken statue pedestal containing hieroglyphic name-rings in the Egyptian Museum of Berlin and, after studying it with colleagues Peter van der Veen and Christoffer Theis, they suggest that one of the name-rings should be read as “Israel.” Not all scholars agree with their reading because of slight differences in spelling, but Görg, van der Veen and Theis offer strong arguments, including supportive parallels in the Merneptah Stele itself. This newly rediscovered inscription is dated to around 1400 B.C.E.—about 200 years earlier than the Merneptah Stele. If Görg, van der Veen and Theis are right, their discovery will shed important light on the beginnings of ancient Israel.

Interesting. I’ll have to ask Peter about it (because I’m a little [ok a lot] unwilling to pay for the essay).

Nonetheless, it’s important to remind ourselves that even the ‘Israel’ of the Merenptah Stele is still the subject of discussion as to what exactly ‘Israel’ means. I’m fairly sure that if Peter (et al’s) has an older reference it too will be subject to the same questions.

Oh Peter….

UPDATE:  Eric reminded me that this was old news so I searched the archives and uncovered, in a moment, this.   I wonder why BAR is so slow and called it ‘new’ when it clearly isn’t (and even more importantly, why I can’t remember everything).

UPDATE II:  Peter van der Veen writes

I just read what Hershel Shanks wrote. He summarizes what I have written together with my colleagues Christoffer Theis and Manfred Görg in our technical articel in JAEI 2:4 (2010). This is nothing new, really but “the news” is spreading. That is all. Although the stele fragment was acquired by Ludwig Burchardt (the famous Egyptologist who also brought the Nefertiti bust to Germany), there is not a shred of a doubt about its authenticy, so all Egyptologists said with whom I spoke. I have studied the stele on many occassions and yes the reading – though fragmentary – as Israel does make sense. Now we are working on a second technical paper to be submitted shortly dealing more specifically with the etymology of the name Israel and with the date of the stele (indeed quite likely c. 1400 BC). Best wishes

Peter van der Veen

Peter informs me that if readers wish to have a copy of his original essay all they need do is write him:  van_der_Veen@gmx.de

I Imagine Eric Cline Would Love a Copy of This Book…

Blending biblical lore with caveman history, “The Autobiography of Eve” (ISBN 0615548172) by Ralph Morin is an audacious novel that imagines the mother of man presiding over the Stone and Bronze ages. She creates fire, invents the wheel, forges tools and even shepherds in agriculture and animal husbandry. Written in the format of Eve’s very personal diary, this highly original book takes us through Eve’s childhood, adolescence and the development of her relationship with Adam.

I can just see the look on Eric’s face as he unwraps this gift, sent him by you, the beloved reader…

[Sorry, not linking to the ‘press release’ as I’ve no interest in helping the guy sell copies].

Lot’s of Christians Can Only Handle ‘Milk’

As the author of Hebrews rightly observed (in Ch 5)-

11 We have a lot to say about this topic, and it’s difficult to explain, because you have been lazy and you have’t been listening. 12 Although you should have been teachers by now, you need someone to teach you an introduction to the basics about God’s message. You have come to the place where you need milk instead of solid food. 13 Everyone who lives on milk is not used to the word of righteousness, because they are babies. 14 But solid food is for the mature, whose senses are trained by practice to distinguish between good and evil.  (CEB)

The inability of many to distinguish between good doctrine and bad, good biblical exegesis and bad, good theology and bad, is all too common these days (as in ancient times as well).  That’s exactly why people like Mark Driscoll, Ted Haggard, TD Jakes, Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyers, and the bevy of heretics presently passing themselves off as Christian teachers get away with it and aren’t ‘called out’ by either their churches or the Church at large.

Even many Pastors are too often bereft of the ability to discern the spirits (and probably don’t even recognize that as a biblical phrase).  Churches are in trouble, Christians are in trouble, and the truth is in trouble because too many are satisfied with milk – with remaining infants in doctrinal and biblical studies – and don’t ‘grow up’ to the point where they can handle deeper spiritual truths.

If one thing needs to be said to American Christianity today it’s this: grow up!

The Valley of the Kings: 2012 Excavation Report

During the season of 2011, three edges of an unknown manmade feature appeared at 1.80m to the north of KV 40, on the 25th of January, the first day of the Egyptian revolution. Due to the situation, it was immediately covered with an iron door.  As this structure is so close to KV 40 and as it was impossible to know whether it was just a short unfinished shaft or a real tomb, we gave it the temporary number 40b. This number is now replaced by the final designation KV 64. The KV numbers should definitely be used exclusively for real tombs or deposits and not for possible cavities and yet unascertained structures.

Check out the whole report (with several photos)  from the University of Basel, with thanks to Kara Cooney for pointing it out.

Meth: What A Curse that Filthiness Is

Police are combing through video footage of a woman who recorded herself smoking methamphetamine before shooting her two young children, their father, a cousin and herself, seeking clues into a weekend tragedy that unfolded in California’s Central Valley.  The apparent murder-suicide by Aide Mendez, 23, began Sunday morning when she argued with Eduardo Lopez, the father of her two children. Authorities say that at some point that morning, she used her iPad to record herself and her boyfriend’s cousin taking drugs.  After neighbors called police to report trouble, officers arrived to find Lopez outside the apartment complex with knife and gunshot wounds, said Lt. Mark Salazar, a police homicide commander.  They heard a muffled shot from the first-floor apartment and discovered Mendez had killed herself, the cousin, 27-year-old Paul Medina, as well as her two children, 17-month-old Aliyah Echeverria and Isaiah Echeverria, 3.

Still think drugs like meth should be legalized?  If you do, you’re a fool.  What insanity it is to make illicit drugs a part of your life.  What hatred you must have for your existence.

Good for Poland

 A Polish pop singer has been fined for disparaging the Bible. Dorota Rabczewska, who goes by the stage name Doda, said in an interview that she doubted the Bible because “it’s hard to believe in something that was written by someone drunk on wine and smoking herbs.” She was fined $1,450 for offending religious feelings, reports AP. The case was seen as a test of continuing Catholic influence and freedom of expression in the increasingly secular nation.

Dodo.  She’s obviously projecting the method by which she produces her own music onto the authors of the Bible.

I know, I know, everyone loves all the ‘free speech’ stuff (when it suits them).  But I’m happy to see, from time to time, the same kind of intolerance aimed at the angry atheists as is aimed at Christians by them all the time. Personally I think it would be grand if anyone who demeaned the Bible were tossed over to Poland for a couple of years.

No Wonder Greece is Bankrupt, Morally

No wonder tax evasion and corruption and graft have destroyed the country- there’s altogether a lack of moral certitude and the absence of any semblance of a moral center.  Adding insult to injury, they’ve just decided, in their wisdom, that pedophilia is a ‘disability’!!!!  Allan Bevere writes

Morven Baker calls attention to the growing list of state recognized disabilities in Greece that will now include pedophilia and exhibitionism.  Other disability groups in Greece are outraged.
Pedophilia is to disability what wikipedia is to scholarship.  When perversion is called illness personal responsibility is flushed down the toilet.  But I suppose this is to be expected from the land that gave the world pederasty.

James VanderKam on the Scrolls and the Bible

In writing The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible, my intent was to take up familiar topics and questions within the broad area of the scrolls and the Bible, update the discussions about them, and press them forward. What is the full range of the evidence on the topics, now that all the scrolls have been available for some time? What contributions have the texts made to biblical studies, and what questions do they raise? While the topics may be familiar, my treatment of them contains new reflections.

He’s got more to say about it too.

Wednesday The Internet Will be a Better Place

Wikipedia is going dark! Darn it, it’s just for one day. But still, one day is better than none.

Good riddance.

Do not try to look up “Internet Censorship” or “SOPA” or “PIPA” on Wikipedia, the giant online encyclopedia, on Wednesday.  SOPA and PIPA are two bills in Congress meant to stop the illegal copying and sharing of movies and music on the Internet, but major Internet companies say the bills would put them in the impossible position of policing the online world.  Wikipedia’s founder, Jimmy Wales, now says his site will go dark for the day on Wednesday, joining a budding movement to protest the two bills.  “This is going to be wow,” Wales said on Twitter. “I hope Wikipedia will melt phone systems in Washington on Wednesday. Tell everyone you know!”

Wow, what a self important prat that Wales guy is. Does he really think if Wikipedia isn’t available the whole world will be in mourning and Congress will be deluged? I suppose, thinking about it, that he may be right. After all, there are a lot of teens who don’t know how to read a book and a lot of dilettantes who can’t manage to track down accurate research. Both groups depend on Wikipedia for their entire source of information. Plus, there are the armies of aluminum foil hat wearers who festoon wikipedia with misinformation or who distort entries just because they can.

Given the state of intellectual activity these days, a lot of folk will miss wikipedia. I won’t be one of them. I don’t use it unless I’m looking for a loony inaccurate blotch of nonsense. And that doesn’t happen often.

So again, Wikipedia, good riddance. May you remain dark.