Monthly Archives: February 2012

McGrath: On the Talpiot Tomb

James has some thoughts about the likelihood (or its opposite) of Talpiot being the actual burial spot of Jesus’ family.  It’s worth reading.  At the conclusion of his piece he also has an up to the moment link-list on the subject.

Fun Facts from Church History

The Protestant Church of Lyon- named by the townsfolk ‘Paradise’-

Note the centrality and prominence of the pulpit.  In Protestant worship, the proclamation of the Word is the core event, the most important aspect of the community gathered for worship.

Fun Facts From Church History

In the 16th century Evangelical pastors (Lutheran and Reformed) were required to know Latin, Greek and Hebrew.  Knowledge of those languages wasn’t optional for clergy, it was mandatory.

Fun Facts From Church History

Of all the Christians in the 16th and 17th centuries, it was the Anabaptists who were most vociferously anti-intellectual and anti-education.  Anabaptists derided learning and claimed that their possession of ‘the spirit’ alone equipped them to speak of and for God.

All Christian anti-intellectualism in the modern church can trace its roots to the Anabaptists; despisers of learning in the Church unknown before their movement.

Deadline For Paper Submissions for SBL 2012 Extended

From the SBL this email

The opening of the paper submission system for the 2012 Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois was delayed this year because we made upgrades and other changes to enhance member experience and support program unit chairs in their work. We have decided to extend the deadline for proposals through Wednesday, March 7. The submission system will now close at 11:59:59 PM Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, March 7. We hope that this change provides ample opportunity for members to submit their proposals for the 2012 Annual Meeting.  To submit a proposal, first log-in to the website with your SBL Member ID. Then you will need to go to this page, then find the unit, then click the link as follows:

Propose a Paper for this Program Unit: To propose a paper for this program unit, click here.  Fill out the proposal in its entirety, then click “Confirm.” This is not the final step. The page will refresh and give you a preview of your proposal. Confirm the details and then select “submit my proposal.”

Correlatively, the deadline for program unit chairs to review proposals has been extended through Wednesday, April 4. All session information, including audio-visual and scheduling requests, presiders, and other participant information, is due on April 4.

Thank you for your patience as we modified the system to meet new guidelines. Please familiarize yourself with them.

Your Annual Meeting Team

Is This Holocaust Denier the New Face of Illinois Republicans?

I hope not.  But if the people of Illinois elect him, they deserve every plague that descends.

A congressional candidate running as a Republican in the upcoming Illinois primary says the “Holocaust never happened.”  Arthur Jones, 64, a Lyons, IL, insurance salesman who organizes family-friendly, neo-Nazi events around Adolf Hitler’s birthday, hopes to be the Republican candidate chosen to run againstDemocratic Congressman Dan Lipinski in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District.  “As far as I’m concerned, the Holocaust is nothing more than an international extortion racket by the Jews,” Jones said. “It’s the blackest lie in history. Millions of dollars are being made by Jews telling this tale of woe and misfortune in books, movies, plays and TV.

What a lamentably ignorant sub-human miscreant.  HT- Thomas Bolin on FB.

Romney Thanks State He Was Born And Raised In For Just Barely Giving Him Enough Votes To Beat Total Maniac

Indeed…  in The Onion.

News From Basel

Das ökumenische Zentrum für Religionspädagogik und Medien in Basel hat einen neuen Internetauftritt mit neuen Funktionen. Dies teilte das Zentrum am 29. Februar mit.  Die neue Homepage heisst «» und löse die bisherigen Webseiten ab. Alle Stellen des religionspädagogischen Zentrums beider Basel (RPZ) seien auf der neuen Website vereinigt. Die Site sei von der Basler Grafikerin Jenny Hartmann gestaltet und vom Basler Markus Häberlin technisch umgesetzt worden.


Robin Jensen Repudiates the Claims of Tabor in No Uncertain Terms: Or, How the ‘Jesus Discovery’ Deceives

The latest in the series being posted by ASOR concerning the ‘Jesus Discovery’ is by Robin Jensen, who repudiates Tabor’s claim that Jensen agrees with his findings.  She observes

At the end of our second day of filming (in the Catacomb of Priscilla), someone suddenly thrust a photograph into my hands and asked me to comment upon it while cameras were running. I was asked if it might be an image of Jonah. I really didn’t know what to say. What I did say was something like this (I don’t recall my actual words):

“If (and it’s a big IF) this were an actual image of Jonah from the first century, it looks nothing like the images we have just been discussing. If this dates to the first century, it also would be two hundred years older (more or less) than the next earliest image of Jonah. It would be unique. I cannot say more than that.”

I did not say that I believed the photograph to show an early Christian image of Jonah. In fact I have not clear idea what the image was that I was shown. I had no opportunity to study the photograph prior to my being asked, on camera, what I thought. In a later meeting, I had a longer time to study and came to the conclusion that the image likely depicted something other than Jonah.

Once I knew how my judgments were going to be used, I persistently tried to get my “handlers” to understand the much later Christian art from Rome is of an entirely different style and content than anything from first-century Palestine. There simply is no significant correlation between them. Because of this, my expertise was totally irrelevant. I know very little about ossuary art and could not possibly verify anything related to their authenticity or their iconography.

Therefore, I absolutely refute any claim that I concur with the interpretation of any first-century ossuary iconography as depicting Jonah. Nor do I believe that “first-century visual evidence of Christian belief in the resurrection” has been discovered to date.

When ‘scholars’  or journalists twist the words of others simply to make them fit the ‘facts’ they want to present, not only is it dishonest, it’s despicable.

Update and Further Information on the ‘Ephesus Conference 2012’

Ephesus as a Religious Center under the Principate
An International Symposium in Honor of Richard Oster

May 18 – 19, 2012 at the Harding School of Theology in Memphis, TN

Welcome to The Ephesus Conference honoring Richard Oster’s 65th birthday. The conference brings together an international team of scholars to focus on the ancient city of Ephesus as a religious center during the first period of the Roman Empire.

Richard Oster has a well-deserved reputation for scholarship in the Greco-Roman world and the New Testament, especially with respect to the city of Ephesus. The conference derives its title and focus from the title of his essay “Ephesus as a Religious Center under the Principate” in the multi-volume series Aufstieg und Niedergang der römishen Welt (Rise and Fall of the Roman World).

We have invited 13 scholars from Austria, New Zealand, and across the United States to make presentations on various aspects of ancient Ephesus and its religious culture. These scholars include archaeologists who have worked in Ephesus and scholars of the New Testament/Early Christianity, many of whom have distinguished themselves by their use of archeological artifacts in the study of religion in the Greco-Roman world.

Please join us in Memphis on May 18-19 as we explore the matrix of Greco-Roman religion, emperor worship, Judaism, and early Christianity in the ancient city of Ephesus.

There’s much more including the schedule and registration forms at the link above.  They’ve also got a Facebook page here.  With thanks to Allen Black for alerting me about the website.

The Dead Sea Scrolls Imaging Project: The Premier Video

With thanks to Eibert Tigchelaar for pointing it out.

Just When You Thought Kids Couldn’t Be Dumber…

They go and prove that they can indeed be profoundly stupid:

via Brian Kelley on G+

Massachusetts, There’s Something Wrong With You

Some local parents are outraged after a school menu boasted “KKK Chicken Tenders” as one of next week’s lunch specials for students.  A Methuen parent, who asked not to be named, said the printed lunch menu that her daughter brought home from the Marsh Grammar School on Monday listed the chicken for March 9. She said her fourth-grade daughter asked her about the entree Monday night.  “(My daughter said,) ‘Mom, you know what’s KKK chicken tenders?’ And I said, ‘What did you say to me?'” she said.  The parent said when she called the Methuen Public Schools to complain, she was told by someone in the Nutrition Department that “KKK Chicken” stood for “Crispy, Crunchy Chicken,” and the C’s had been swapped for K’s.

It almost makes you want to Homeschool.  Especially if you live in a district so bereft of any sort of common sense.

The First Scottish Martyr: Patrick Hamilton

Patrick Hamilton was burned at the stake by the Catholics on the 29th of February, 1528.  At St. Andrews!  You can read all about him here.

The harrowing details of his six long hours of torture have been preserved for us by his friend Alesius, himself a sorrowing witness of the fearful tragedy. “He was rather roasted than burned,” he tells us. It may be that his persecutors had not deliberately planned thus horribly to protract his sufferings—though such cruelty was not unknown in France, either then or in much later times. They were as yet but novices at such revolting work, and all things seemed to conspire against them. The execution had been hurried on before a sufficiency of dry wood had been provided for the fire. The fury of the storm, which had prevented the martyr’s brother from crossing the Forth with troops to rescue him, was not yet spent. With a fierce wind from the east sweeping up North Street, it would be a difficult matter in such a spot to kindle the pile and keep it burning, or to prevent the flames, when fierce, from being so blown aside as to be almost as dangerous to the surrounding crowd as to the tortured victim. They did so endanger his accuser, the traitor Campbell, and “set fire to his cowl, and put him in such a fray, that he never came to his right mind.” But, through all his excruciating sufferings, the martyr held fast his confidence in God and in his Saviour, and the faith of many in the Effects of his Constancy. truths he taught was only the more confirmed by witnessing their mighty power on him.

With thanks to the folk at Refo500 for tweeting the tip.

Signs of the Times…


Looks instead like they’ve leaped to illiteracy.  Sigh….

ASOR Makes an Impact

MSNBC has reported extensively on the scholarly backlash against the Tabor/Jacobovici ‘Jesus Discovery’ claim, citing all the posts on the ASOR Blog which appeared yesterday.  Rollston, Magness, Meyers and others are referred to.

Some archaeologists were familiar with the project months before it came into the spotlight, but non-disclosure agreements kept them from commenting until today’s press announcement at Discovery Times Square in New York. The project has already spawned a book by scriptural scholar James Tabor and filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici, titled “The Jesus Discovery,” and a documentary about the find is due to air on the Discovery Channel this spring.

When today’s embargo lifted, the criticism from outside experts hit with full force on the ASOR Blog.

“Nothing in the book ‘revolutionizes our understanding of Jesus or early Christianity,’ as the authors and publisher claim, and we may regard this book as yet another in a long list of presentations that misuse not only the Bible but also archaeology,” Duke University biblical scholar Eric Meyers declared.

Jodi Magness, a religious-studies professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said “it pains me to see archaeology hijacked in the service of non-scientific interests, whether they are religious, financial, or other.” In her view, Tabor, Jacobovici and their colleagues set out to dig up evidence to support their earlier claims about a different tomb nearby, the so-called “Jesus Family Tomb” — and then rustle up a fresh round of media attention.

“Professional archaeologists do not search for objects or treasures such as Noah’s Ark, the Ark of the Covenant, or the Holy Grail,” she wrote. “Usually these sorts of expeditions are led by amateurs (nonspecialists) or academics who are not archaeologists. Archaeology is a scientific process.”

So speaking out does make a difference.  Pseudo-archaeology will no longer be allowed by actual academics to make claims without evidence and substantiation.  The day of glib claims unanswered is over.

A Follow-up And Republication of the Preceding Post

Or, more simply, Bob’s post has found a home on the ASOR blog.  So you can read it there as well.  I find his theory quite interesting.

Bob is probably right on target here. And this tomb of Absalom certainly is closer to the imagery produced in the ossuary Tabor ‘discovered’ than a fish.

XKV8R: The Official Blog of Robert R. Cargill, Ph.D.

Here’s a thought:

In response to Simcha Jacobovici’s sensational claims of a “Jonah’s Great Fish” icon on a burial ossuary in Jerusalem, Duke University’s Dr. Eric Meyers states the following:

In fact, the image in the book is so poorly reproduced in my copy that one suspects it has been intentionally altered so that no one could see what the the image really is. Indeed, the image actually seems to resemble a nephesh, or tomb monument, like those found in many places in Jerusalem in the first century CE and depicted on ossuaries of this very period (so for example in fig. 13 or 30 of Rahmani’s A Catalogue of Jewish Ossuaries, 1994). A nephesh is the above-ground monument of a tomb that marks the tomb below and the one(s) buried there.

Chris Rollston adds:

I must emphasize that I am confident the engraving  is simply a standard…

View original post 349 more words

On Those Who Do Not Love Scripture Study

I have become convinced that those who do not love this sweetness [i.e., the study of Scripture] certainly have not the slightest notion of the true food of the soul. For our spirits live “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,” and what are these words but Holy Scripture itself? Those who do not love this sweetness are dead in spirit. – John Faber Stapulensis

Footage of the Jacobovici Expedition During the Planning Stage!

Ok not really, but…

I post it only because of the connection to pseudo-archaeology, Indiana Jones, and sarcasm. Oh and because I love Psych!