Daily Archives: 13 Feb 2012

The Significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls for New Testament

An essay by Loren Stuckenbruck– posted at Academia.edu.   It’s 42 pages of goodness.

What’s A Nicki Minaj? Apparently It’s A Blasphemous Tart

After Nicki Minaj’s provocative performance at this year’s Grammys, it seemed like only a matter of time before the star found herself in the cross-hairs of the Catholic League.  Minaj showed up on the red carpet with a man dressed like the Pope and, when she took the stage, she levitated, spoke in tongues and acted possessed.   Sure enough, the Catholic League fired out a scathing press release Monday titled “Is Nicki Minaj Possessed?”

“Whether Minaj is possessed is surely an open question, but what is not in doubt is the irresponsibility of The Recording Academy,” Catholic League President Bill Donohue said in the release. “Never would they allow an artist to insult Judaism or Islam.”  “It’s bad enough that Catholics have to fight for their rights vis-a-vis a hostile administration in Washington without also having to fend off attacks in the entertainment industry,” Donohue continued. “The net effect, however, will only embolden Catholics, as well as their friends in other faith communities.”

Our Catholic League friends are right.  And in fact, I would dearly love to see Minaj visit Iraq or Saudi Arabia and perform a ‘show’ treating Mohammed with the same contempt with which she treated the Catholics.  I think she should go do it.  Right away.  But of course she won’t.  It’s not religion she hates, it’s Christianity.

As to the entertainment industry- well it’s awash in depravity anyway and nothing can be expected of it but depraved behavior.  It shows what it is: it airs trash because it is trash.

The University of Iowa is Teaming up with Tel Aviv to Excavate at Azekah

And along those lines they’ve set up a Facebook page- check it out here.

Contact Dr. Robert Cargill at robert-cargill@uiowa.edu for more information about digging at Tel Azekah with Tel Aviv University this summer.

Sony: Thieves and Parasites at Work

Image representing Sony as depicted in CrunchBase

yeah make believe it's all a coincidence

On Saturday, a Whitney Houston greatest-hits album cost about $8 in the UK iTunes store; but shortly after the singer was found dead, it had jumped to a little more than $12.50. The changed sparked a customer uproar. “It is just a case of iTunes cashing in on the singer’s death, which in my opinion is totally parasitic,” said one, according to DigitalSpy. But the Guardian reports that it was Sony, not iTunes, that was responsible for the change—which has now been reversed.

Sony- where price gouging is king.  If Sony owned oil wells it would be, well, just like every other oil company in the world.  Sony- the big oil of the music industry.  I hope they’re very ashamed of themselves and I hope they lose billions in profits for it.

Sony boosted the wholesale price of Houston’s 1997 Ultimate Collection, which iTunes currently says isn’t available in its US store. It was the second-bestselling album as of this morning, the Guardian notes. Sony’s change wasn’t “cynical,” said an insider: Sony reviewed Houston’s catalog after her death, and found that the wholesale price was simply wrong.

Oh bull.  Thieves and liars.  Reviewed the price after her death… yeah, I’m sure they did, so they could jack up the price.  Despicable greed-mongers.

Catchy Headlines Aren’t The Same Thing as Scholarship

For instance, BAR emails today

Was Mary Magdalene the Wife of Jesus?

No. So why pander to the conspiracy theorists who are looking for any hint that Jesus was a married guy and the Church has covered it up? Because ‘Mary Magdalene Wasn’t the Wife of Jesus’ isn’t as soul stirring. Even though that’s what they very essay BAR publishes asserts-

In his article “From Saint to Sinner,” author Birger A. Pearson reviews all of the references to Mary in the Gospels and finds that there is actually no substantial evidence that Mary was either a prostitute or Jesus’ wife. Three Gospels name her only as a witness of his crucifixion and/or burial. All four Gospels place her at the scene of Jesus’ resurrection (though Luke does not list her as a witness). Only in the Gospel according to Luke is there even the slightest implication that she might have had a past life that could raise eyebrows.

Still, BAR wants headlines to screech rather than offer evidence of scholarship. But catchy headlines aren’t the same thing as scholarship. I would respect BAR a lot more if it tried to be less sensationalistic and more academic (and yes, you can be academic and interesting to the wider public!)

North Korea Isn’t The Only Korea With a Crazy Leader

There’s craziness in South Korea too– unfortunately it’s at a Church.

South Korean police have arrested a Christian pastor and his wife over the deaths of their three children. The parents are accused of whipping and starving the children in an attempt to cast out demons.  Police said Monday that the couple was arrested Saturday after their 10-year daughter and two sons aged 8 and 5 were found dead at their home in the southern county of Boseong.

So sad, so unbelievable, and so profoundly un-Christian.  Too many ‘pastors’ shouldn’t be.

John Barton – On the Eerdman’s Dictionary of Early Judaism

John Barton has reviewed “The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism” in The Times Literary Supplement.  He writes

“I do not think there is now a better guide to Early Judaism than the Eerdmans Dictionary,” he writes, adding that the book, “opens a door into a fascinating and complex world of ideas, texts, and practices.”


Shacking Up Has It’s Price

And it’s evidently very high-  at least for one promiscuous lass

Caroline Barrett, who “lived in sin” with her boyfriend, has lost out on a share of her Catholic grandmother’s £220,000 fortune – after a judge ruled that her elderly relative disapproved of cohabitation before marriage.


Mrs Barrett, 28, was taken to the High Court by her aunts and uncles, who claimed that her religious grandmother objected to the young woman’s lifestyle. Irish-born Bridget Gabrielle Murray had included Mrs Barrett in her will drawn up months before she died aged 87 in July 2010. But the matriarch’s sons, David and John Murray, and daughter Catherine Turk, said it was a “mistake” and took the dispute to the High Court for a judge to “rectify”. Judge Robert Miles QC accepted that the elderly woman’s attitudes may have been “capricious” but ruled that she would not have knowingly left money to an unmarried relative.

Best check with your rich relatives before you decide to shack up. Shacking up carries a cost (and not just spiritually).

A Very Strange Horse Tale

The Telegraph informs us that

An equine expert, Erica Marshall, was killed when a horse she was treating in an oxygen chamber became spooked and kicked out, sparking a freak explosion which could be heard 30 miles away. Mrs Marshall, a 28-year-old newlywed, was monitoring a horse receiving oxygen therapy when the animal kicked through the wall of the pressurised hyperbaric chamber. Its steel horseshoe created a spark which caused a huge blast which threw debris 1,200ft and could be heard 30 miles away. Part of the roof and side of the chamber was ripped off in the explosion, killing the horse and Erica who was watching the horse via video link in a nearby room.

That’s very strange. Very. May the poor girl rest in peace.

Summer School at Oxford University

Beautiful conversion of the Old Oxford Prison ...

UNIQ is a programme of free residentials in July and August for Year 12 students currently studying at UK state schools and colleges.  Applications are now open and will close at 7PM on the 23 February 2012. You can begin your application by clicking below. Please make sure you have read all the information on the website before attempting to make an application  APPLY HERE.

As the Oxford folk say on Facebook-

Apply before 23rd February for a place on the free residential course in Theology, run by the UNIQ programme from 15-20 July 2012. The UNIQ Summer Schools offer a week of in-depth study, with teaching by Oxford tutors and lecturers, and the opportunity to stay in one of the colleges.

Good Morning America… 16 Minutes of Whitney Before any Other News…

You’d think nothing in the world happened over the weekend except the death of one singer.  GMA spent 16 minutes- their opening 16 minutes, on Houston.  And this in spite of the unfolding crisis in Greece, the ongoing murder of Syrians, and other world events.

Celebrity-worship, thy name is ABC ‘News’.

Bring Your Gun to Church, And Shoot the Pastor’s Daughter

On Sunday, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said 20-year-old Hannah Kelley was accidentally shot in the head after a group of men were inspecting a gun inside a church closet.

Oh Florida… the Texas of the East Coast.

Three men were inspecting a gun Sunday inside a church closet when the gun accidentally fired. The bullet went through the closet wall and hit 20-year-old Hannah Kelley in the head, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.   Kelley was transported to Bayfront Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. Emergency surgery was performed Sunday, the Sheriff’s Office said.   The shooting happened at Grace Connection Church, 4017 56th Avenue N. The pastor of the church, Tim Kelley, is Hannah’s father.

Poor child.  Poor family!

Detectives said 20-year-old Dustin Bueller approached 48-year-old Moises Zambrana and said that he would soon be turning 21 and was interested in purchasing a gun for himself. Zambrana agreed to show Bueller his firearm, a Reuger 9mm.  Zambrana, Bueller and 19-year-old John Penu, stepped into a small closet adjacent to the rec room, where Zambrana proceeded to show the men the weapon, the Sheriff’s Office said.  Deputies said Zambrana was explaining the weapon’s safety features and had removed the magazine, when the gun fired. The bullet went through the closet wall and out into the rec room striking 20-year-old Hannah Kelley in the head.  Deputies say Zambrana does have a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Of course he didn’t.  He probably isn’t a gun dealer either.  Just a prat who doesn’t know safety from sense and a 20 year old child has to pay the penalty for his gun toting showing off ignorance.  What dimwittery.

Weird News: The Witchcraft Trial in Cologne, Germany Which Begins… Today…

Artistic depiction of the execution by burning...

A witchcraft trial is re-opening in Cologne on Monday in the hope that one woman will have her name cleared, centuries after being burned at the stake.  It is thought around 25,000 women were sentenced to death for witchcraft down the centuries in Germany – including Cologne native Katharina Henot. She was arrested and thrown in prison under charges of witchcraft in 1627.

But it is said Henot had nothing to do with the occult; as the head of the city’s post office and a powerful socialite it was more likely that her charges were politically motivated.  After weeks of torture, Henot eventually lost all movement in her right hand, meaning that her final plea for innocence was scrawled, almost illegibly, with her left. But no matter how fiercely she protested, city officials ignored her and she was sentenced to death.

Henot was then paraded around the streets of Cologne in a wagon, until being brought to a large square in the city, where she was tied to a stake and burned to death. To this day, neither Henot nor many of the 25,000 women killed for alleged witchcraft have had their names cleared – in the eyes of the law, they are still guilty of the mystic misdeeds they were convicted of centuries ago.  This could change for Henot on Monday, as her case will be reopened by the same panel at the city council that was responsible for her death nearly 400 years ago.

In the words of lots of people… ‘I just don’t get it’.  I guess they have plenty of extra money in Germany for such silly trials.