Daily Archives: 9 Mar 2012

Lecture Announcement: University of Zurich

William M. Schniedewind (Los Angeles) is to lecture on :”Nascent Scripturalization in the Neo-Assyrian Period“. March 12, 18:15-20:00 — University of Zurich (Kirchgasse 9, CH-8001 Zurich, Room 201).

Via Jack Sasson

We All (Well those of us with Sense) Knew You Were Lying, Harold…

But it’s good of you to admit it.  I hope you stick with your decision to stop your false predictions.  Some ignorant people stake their lives on them.

A Northern California preacher who spent millions last year to publicize his message of impending global destruction has for the first time acknowledged his apocalyptic prophecy was wrong.  In a letter posted on his independent ministry’s site on Thursday, 90-year-old Harold Camping told his followers he has no evidence the world will end anytime soon, and he isn’t interested in considering future dates.


Thursday, Camping alerted his flock that he had stopped looking for new dates, and would concentrate on deepening his faith through rereading the Scriptures.

You might want to ask someone who knows something about Scripture to help you.  Be like the Ethiopian Eunuch and ask someone who knows the subject to jump up in the chariot with you.

ASOR SE Mailing List

From the newly elected President of ASOR SE-


I just updated the email list for the ASOR SE. I have 60 email addresses now. I am sure we should have more than this. If you know of anyone who would be interested in receiving information about the ASOR SE meeting please let me know. Send their email along and I will contact them.

The current officers of the ASOR SE are

ASOR Southeast Officers for 2012-13
President: John Wineland
VP: Ralph K. Hawkins
Sec/Treas Greg Linton

We recently established a Facebook page for ASOR SE you can find it here: http://www.facebook.com/SoutheastASOR

If you go to this link it will take you to the page and you can “like” it. We are planning some exciting things for next March including – A Session on Excavation Reports — A Session to Honor Joseph A. Callaway — A Session covering James Tabor’s Book The Jesus Discovery, Dr Tabor has agreed to come and Christopher Rollston has agreed to respond.

I hope you will consider being in Greenville, SC next March 15-17, 2013. Remember also that we have a prize for the best student paper, the Joseph A. Callaway Prize. So please encourage your students to submit papers.

John Wineland
ASOR SE President

You can reach John at wineland@kcu.edu.  If you’re in ASOR in the Southeast, it’s a great group to take part in.

James Tabor, Christopher Rollston, And a Panel Discussion at ASOR Southeast 2013

The folk at ASOR Southeast are on the ball and already planning for next year’s regional meeting in Greenville, SC.  They’re putting together a panel discussion on James Tabor’s ‘The Jesus Discovery’ and both Tabor and Rollston are taking part (others yet to be announced will as well).

All the details are here, on the ASOR SE Facebook page.

It should be loads of fun!

Johannes Calvin und die kulturelle Prägekraft des Protestantismus

Coming soon, a review of this new publication from the excellent people at TVZ and edited by Peter Opitz, Konrad Schmid, and Emidio Campi-

Exponentinnen und Exponenten aus Wissenschaft, Wirtschaft, Politik und Kirche beleuchten Calvins Bedeutung für den europäischen und aussereuropäischen Protestantismus, aber auch die weltweite kulturelle Prägekraft des Protestantismus.

Die Beiträge führen in die Zeit Calvins und des sich entwickelnden Calvinismus ein. Thematisiert wird der Einfluss des Protestantismus auf Staatsdenken, Bildungswesen, Wirtschaft und die historische Rechtswissenschaft. Andere Beiträge gehen der Frage nach, wie sich protestantische Prägungen auf die politische Praxis auswirken können.

Mit Beiträgen von Petra Bahr, Philipp Benedikt, Michael Beintker, Anton A. Bucher, Micheline Calmy-Rey, Emidio Campi, Wolfgang Huber, Esther Maurer, Wolfgang Schluchter, Peter Seele, Michael Stolleis, Christoph Strohm, Michael Welker.

More when the time is right.

Rick Warren Caught With His Pants on Fire

When an Orange County Register article about Rev. Rick Warren of Saddleback Church’s mission to heal differences between evangelical Christians and Muslims was published, some of the pastor’s critics saw it as more evidence of a blurry vision of “Chrislam,” a blending of Christianity and Islam, despite his repeated denials. The Feb. 23 article cited Saddleback documents that see similarities between Christianity and Islam. One co-authored by Jihad Turk of the Christian-Muslim Consultative Group in Los Angeles and Abraham Meulenberg, pastor of Interfaith Outreach at Saddleback claims the two religions “worship the same God.”

Of Course Ricky blames the reporter for getting it all wrong… but as the essay makes plain, that’s typical of Warren’s m.o.  Say something theologically suspect and then blame someone else for it.

Steve McConkey, of bigworldwatch.com, a news gathering site, said of Warren’s response to the article: “A person should not say one thing one time and another thing later and then blame the reporter.  “The problem that we have is that he has a case of doublespeak. Warren denies the Orange County Register article’s contents, but the document he signed ‘A Common Word Between Us and You’ says differently,” said McConkey.  McConkey was referring to a much publicized 2007 document signed by Warren, among many other Christian leaders. Within the first few lines it says that “many Christians have been guilty of sinning against our Muslim neighbors.”  “Before we ‘shake your hand’ in responding to your letter, we ask forgiveness of the All-Merciful One and of the Muslim community around the world,” the document states.

Warren speaks out of both sides of his mouth.

Saddleback and Warren declined numerous WND attempts to speak about the issue. But in the Christian Post, he responded.  The publication asked, “Are you promoting Chrislam?”  “Of course not. It’s the lie that won’t die,” he said.  Yet his staff has acknowledged the Register article is correct, he had a role in the “King’s Way” document and he signed “Common Word.”

Rev. Duplicity, your pants are on fire…

You Might Want to Be Wary of all the Kony Hype

What kind of ‘evangelical’ charity are you giving to if you give to support their gun-toting, fund missapropriating ways?

Only 32% of $8.6 million raised by video-maker Invisible Children last year went to direct services, “with much of the rest going to salaries, travel, transport, and film production,” according to an analysis of public finance reports by student blog Visible Children. More troubling to critics is the organization’s suspected support for military intervention, apparently underscored by a photo of charity founders posing with guns with members of the Sudan Liberation Army, reports ABC News.

32% of funds they collect actually aid children and the rest they spend on lavish living and absurd films.  It’s a scam- by scammers calling themselves ‘evangelicals’.  Don’t believe the hype and don’t throw your money away.

Invisible Children?  Not so much.  It’s your money that will really disappear.

An Epigrapher’s Dream Come True

An ambitious international project led by two adventurous Israeli classicists aims to analyze and catalog every ancient inscription that has been made in Israel. Their meticulous work includes crawling through caves and cellars and Indiana Jones-style adventures.

Ha’aretz reports further,

Work on the project began in 1999 and is expected to be completed in 2017. When it is complete, all of the ancient inscriptions discovered within the borders of the State of Israel will be gathered together in a single comprehensive scientific series. The seven-volume work aims to organise a sea of information that until now consisted of partial, truncated and widely-scattered items; to track down inscriptions that have never been published; and to offer the widest range of contemporary interpretations for those inscriptions that are already known to scholars.


So far two of the seven projected volumes in the series have been published: the first section of the first volume on Jerusalem inscriptions and the second covering Caesarea and the mid-coastal area. Later this month a second section of the volume on Jerusalem will appear, and it will be followed by, among others, volumes on Jaffa and the southern coast (between Tel Aviv and Rafah ); the Negev (including Nabatean inscriptions and inscriptions in the language of desert tribes ); Ein Gedi and Masada; the Jerusalem environs; and the Galilee.

It sounds fascinating. Via Joseph Lauer.

Agreement With Rome

 Pope Benedict on Friday denounced the “powerful political and cultural currents” seeking to legalise gay marriage in the United States, where Maryland has just become the eighth state to allow it.

The pope’s latest comments in opposition to homosexual marriage came in an address to bishops from several Midwestern states on a regular visit to the Vatican.  “Sexual differences cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the definition of marriage,” he said.  He added that the traditional family and marriage had to be “defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature” because, he said, whatever injured families injured society. “In this regard, particular mention must be made of the powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage (in the United States),” he added in a clear reference to gay marriage.

Generally people in favor of gay marriage complain that it in no way ‘injures’ society but in fact it does at a basic level: it renders the generation of children, the foundation of a culture’s future, impossible.  Two men cannot bear a child.  Neither can two women.  In either case, when a gay couple wishes to have children, outside, external, and secondary assistance is absolutely required.

Gay couples can raise children, they can adopt children, they can house children- just not their own.  They cannot contribute to the continuation of the species (if it is in fact true that they are repulsed by persons of the opposite sex and have no inherent biological connection to them).

Consequently, gay couples undermine the very biological nature and structure of a society.

To put it plainly-  left to homosexuality, human life becomes extinct.  You’ll have a hard time persuading anyone with any sense at all that that isn’t detrimental to society!

[NB- No need to bring up infertile couples here- we aren’t talking about that, we’re talking about the impossibility of homosexuals to contribute to the human species].

News From the Enoch Seminar

The Enoch Seminar has been a flurry of activity. Preparations for the First Nangeroni Meeting this summer in Milan are in full swing. The Enoch Graduate Seminar, taking place this summer at Notre Dame, has had a tremendous response. The Online Encyclopedia is constantly growing (www.4enoch.org). And, the preliminary organization of the Seventh Enoch Seminar next summer is moving along nicely.

We are now also very pleased to announce the launch of the new online home of the Enoch Seminar: www.enochseminar.org. The new website will feature a number of exciting features and will be a vast wealth of knowledge related to all things Enoch Seminar and all things Second Temple Judaism. But, only current, registered members of the Enoch Seminar will have total access to all of the features of the site. Registered members will have access to all of the (pre-publication) seminar papers, including the papers from last summer’s wildly successful Sixth Enoch Seminar, and the papers for the upcoming First Nangeroni Meeting.

Your membership to the Enoch Seminar is vital to the continued success and growth of our collaborative organization, and the cost to maintain your annual membership is very inexpensive relative to the benefits it provides. The annual dues to become part of the preeminent organization in the field of Second Temple Judaism and Christian Origins is only $50 per year. Please visit http://www.enochseminar.org to create your account as a full member of the Enoch Seminar, and have unfettered access to the seminar papers.

**Note: If you attended the 6th Enoch Seminar in Milan, you membership dues were included in your registration fee, and your membership will be active until June, 2012. All you need to do is sign up on the website.

**Note: If you are attending the 1st Enoch Seminar Nangeroni Meeting, you membership dues are included in your registration fee, and your membership will be active until December, 2012. All you need to do is sign up on the website.

Please, if you have any comments or concerns, or any suggestions as to how we may improve on the site or new features we could add, let us know. We value your input.

Best Wishes,


Goitein and girlish prose: T-S 13J24.22

The field of Genizah Studies was revolutionised by the outstanding work of Shelomo Dov Goitein, who laid the modern foundations for the work on the ‘documentary Genizah’. But there are disadvantages, too, of having such an eminent founding father: awed by the prolific and brilliant Goitein, subsequent scholarship has sometimes relied too unquestioningly on his work, with the result that misapprehensions have become fixed within the scholarly canon of the Genizah.

An example of just such a misapprehension concerns T-S 13J24.22. It is a family letter in which a father is asked by his daughter to come home quickly as the mother is about to give birth, and to bring with him various garments and sweets. The letter has elicited interest thanks to Goitein’s analysis that it was written by a girl, who was originally a Spanish speaker, and that the addressee, her father, was in Mocha, Yemen. Obviously, this is an exciting interpretation as it would be an example of complex trade relations in the 16th century, and for the schooling of a foreign woman in writing Arabic. In the course of cataloguing this fragment, however, I felt that a linguistic re-examination casts doubt on Goitein’s earlier assumptions.

From our friends at Cambridge.  There’s lot’s more.

What Happens When the NYPD Sends Out Its Spies Against Muslims?

Read their full report yourself.  Looks like the NYPD isn’t protecting and serving, it’s invading privacy and fearmongering.  Heads should roll.  Seriously.  When did the NYPD become the Gestapo?

Overestimation of Iran’s Nuclear Program

When this segment airs be sure to listen to it.

Iranians have agreed to meet with Western officials to discuss their nuclear program, amid increasing Western concern about its purpose. Steve Inskeep talks to Paul Pillar about his article inThe Washington Monthly entitled “We Can Live with a Nuclear Iran.” Pillar teaches in the security studies program at Georgetown University.

It’s a followup interview with Steve Inskeep and it should be heard by all.  Especially those in D.C.

Rollston: Once More on the ‘Jesus Discovery’

Christopher has an issue with Tabor’s reading of the inscription on the ‘Jonah ossuary’-

There is much that I like about Bauckham’s discussion in general, and I am very pleased by his basic conclusions.

Palaeographers, however, would note a rather serious problem for Tabor and Bauckham’s reading of line two…namely, the dramatic difference in the morphology of the iota, as a viewing of Tabor’s own drawings (p. 91, _The Jesus Discovery_) demonstrates. Thus, Tabor and Bauckham read an iotaat the beginning of line two, but one with very long horizontal crossbars (a palaeographic problem I shall soon discuss in a long palaeographic and philological post here, replete with all of my readings and a full translation). However, the next grapheme they read as an iota is a straight vertical (with no horizontals).

There’s some before that and some after.  Enjoy.

Speaking of Zwingli…

Logos, which is making available the recently announced 7 volume Zwingli Collection, writes

“Logos is excited to see the amazing interest and love for the works of one the Reformation’s most important figures. We are excited to see the enthusiasm from our customers, as displayed in the mere two days it took to get the collection into production.”

That is, there was so much interest generated in two short days that the collection was moved immediately into production.  Given my appreciation for Zwingli and given the fact that he is still not widely enough known or read, this is exceptionally good news.

Sausage, Lent, and the Outbreak of Reform

On 9 March, 1522 the printer Froschauer and his assistants had dinner.  What they had blew a hole in Catholic practice and caused a stir in Zurich the repercussions of which would be felt all across Europe.  They had sausage.  They ate meat during Lent and Zwingli, who was there, approved (though he didn’t eat sausages, apparently not being fond of them).

Schaff describes the situation – colorfully –

Zwingli was permitted to labor in Zurich for two years without serious opposition, although he had not a few enemies, both religious and political. The magistracy of Zurich took at first a neutral position, and ordered the priests of the city and country to preach the Scriptures, and to be silent about human inventions (1520). This is the first instance of an episcopal interference of the civil authority in matters of religion. It afterwards became a settled custom in Protestant Switzerland with the full consent of Zwingli. He was appointed canon of the Grossmünster, April 29, 1521, with an additional salary of seventy guilders, after he had given up the papal pension. With this moderate income he was contented for the rest of his life.

During Lent, 1522, Zwingli preached a sermon in which he showed that the prohibition of meat in Lent had no foundation in Scripture. Several of his friends, including his publisher, Froschauer, made practical use of their liberty. This brought on an open rupture. The bishop of Constance sent a strong deputation to Zurich, and urged the observance of the customary fasts. The magistracy prohibited the violation, and threatened to punish the offenders (April 9, 1522).

Zwingli defended himself in a tract on the free use of meats (April 16). It is his first printed book. He essentially takes the position of Paul, that, in things indifferent, Christians have liberty to use or to abstain, and that the Church authorities have no right to forbid this liberty. He appeals to such passages as 1 Cor. 8:8; 10:25; Col. 2:16; 1 Tim. 4:1; Rom. 14:1–3; 15:1, 2.

The bishop of Constance issued a mandate to the civil authorities (May 24), exhorting them to protect the ordinances of the Holy Church. He admonished the canons, without naming Zwingli, to prevent the spread of heretical doctrines. He also sought and obtained the aid of the Swiss Diet, then sitting at Lucerne.

Zwingli was in a dangerous position. He was repeatedly threatened with assassination. But he kept his courage, and felt sure of ultimate victory. He replied in the Archeteles (“the Beginning and the End”), hoping that this first answer would be the last. He protested that he had done no wrong, but endeavored to lead men to God and to his Son Jesus Christ in plain language, such as the common people could understand. He warned the hierarchy of the approaching collapse of the Romish ceremonies, and advised them to follow the example of Julius Caesar, who folded his garments around him that he might fall with dignity. The significance of this book consists in the strong statement of the authority of the Scriptures against the authority of the Church. Erasmus was much displeased with it.

And it all started with a greasy blob of meat scraps held together by intestine…