Daily Archives: 15 Mar 2012

No One Knows you Like Mom, Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga show 01

The mother of Lady Gaga, Cynthia Germanotta, has confessed to Oprah Winfrey that she thought the singer might have mental problems the first time she saw her performing.

Uh huh.

Asked by Ms Winfrey what the flamboyant performer (whose real name is Joanne Stefani Germanotta) was like as a teenager, her mother joked about seeing her perform at a pub early in her career. Ms Germanotta said: “When Gaga started emerging, when she was performing I think it was at Joe’s Pub downtown. And she was in her bikini performing ‘Lady Starlight’ and decided that night to … actually light hairspray on fire. “And some people left when that happened… a lot of people stayed and thought it was cool. But her father and I were like, honesty, he said, ‘I think she has a screw loose’.”

Uh huh. No one knows ya like your mom and dad…

There’s Something Seriously Wrong With the Southern Miss Band, and Rick Santorum

The president of the University of Southern Mississippi is apologizing today, after members of the school’s band chanted “Where’s your green card?” while a Latino player took a free throw during the NCAA tournament.  The incident happened during today’s game between Southern Miss and Kansas State.  BuzzFeed has video that shows Angel Rodriguez approaching the free throw line, as at least a couple of people start to chant.

It isn’t the president who needs to apologize.  It’s the band.  And it’s Rick Santorum who told the people of Puerto Rico that they could become a state if they learned English first.

Both acts, that of the band and the wanna be President (God preserve us from that), bespeak a nation where any memory of the fact  that we are all immigrants has been effaced by racist tendencies of the worst sort.

Mr Santorum, perhaps you should return to Italy… since that’s where you’re ‘from’.  You could run for Prime Minister.  Then, Silvio Berlussconi could point to you and say ‘see, there are people worse than me’.

The One App You Need for Your iPhone

Gas Buddy!

  • Find the cheapest gas on the go – for free!
  • Locate gas stations near you and see their current gas prices.
  • For every gas price reported, you’ll earn points towards our prize give-away.
  • GasBuddy is a community of users working together to update gas prices.

In these troubled (greed driven, speculation moved, depraved) times, it’s something everyone can use.

Ugandans are Suing an American Evangelist

Over his ‘anti-gay’ (they say) stance.

Scott Lively was one of the American evangelicals cited by Ugandan authorities who introduced a bill in 2009 calling for the death penalty for homosexuals. Now a Ugandan gay rights group is suing Lively and four Ugandan co-defendants in a federal court in Massachusetts, saying he violated international law by whipping up hatred and fomenting persecution against gays and lesbians in Uganda, reports the New York Times. “That’s about as ridiculous as it gets,” said Lively. “I’ve never done anything in Uganda except preach the Gospel and speak my opinion about the homosexual issue.” The lawyer for Sexual Minorities Uganda says that before Lively’s three-day conference in Uganda in 2009, no one much bothered homosexuals, but afterward they faced widespread discrimination.

That is smartly ridiculous.  It’s interesting, isn’t it, that if one has problems with homosexual practice one is ‘anti’ but if one is against biblical principles one is ‘tolerant’.  Can we say ‘double standard’?

How Greed Drives Your Local ‘Jesus Junk Store’, Oh I Mean ‘Christian Bookstore’

Clever marketers masquerading as Christians are more than happy to flop themselves on to any bandwagon that rolls their way as long as they think they can make a buck from it.  Name a fad and you’ll find loads of junk at the local ‘Christian’ bookstore chasing the dollars associated with it.

Take the ‘Hunger Games’.  It too has already been subjected to theological junkification.

Mind you, I’m all about theologians being theologically minded.  What I don’t approve of is marketers pretending to be theologians and foisting off on the public pure garbage just to make a bit of filthy mammon.  Such persons prostitute theology.

Two North Carolina pastors have recently created a Bible study based on the book series The Hunger Games.  The Rev. Andy Langford and his daughter, the Rev. Ann Duncan, created “The Gospel According to ‘The Hunger Games’ Trilogy” in the hopes of reaching out to youth.  “Many of our youth and young adults have been reading the books. Two youth from my church in Concord, N.C., are extras in the movie,” said Langford to The Christian Post.

They aren’t hoping to reach out to youth- if they were, they’d simply preach the gospel.  They’re reaching out to cash in on the current craze.  Period.   Kids read all kinds of junk and theologians rightly skip the opportunity to cash in.  Big crazes bring with them the lure of big money.  Big mammon.  But ‘you cannot serve God and mammon’ said Jesus (in case folk aren’t familiar with the saying, or Jesus).

Michael’s right to write

What do you do to make young people interested in the Bible? Umm, coat it with bacon or chocolate or better still a pastor and his daughter have come up with another fad


Oded Lipschits v. David Ussishkin

Oded writes

In this paper [in JHS] I present two different methodologies and theories of understanding the stamped jar phenomenon that have recently come into dispute. Ussishkin (2011) has argued in favor of the 30-year-old scholarly consensus that claims that all lmlk jars were produced during the three years of Hezekiah’s revolt and Judah’s preparations for the 701 BCE Assyrian attack. He has further claimed that all the concentric incised circles on jar handles should be dated to these three years, and that all the rosette stamped jars should be dated to the few years of Zedekiah’s revolt against the Babylonians (588–586 BCE). Lipschits, Sergi and Koch (2010; 2011) have challenged this theory, claiming that this system of stamping jar handles endured for no less than about 600 years—maintaining that it was initiated at the beginning of the last quarter of the 8th century BCE with the early lmlk types, and perpetuated during the first quarter of the 7th century BCE with the late lmlk types, during the middle of the 7th century BCE with the incised concentric circles on jar handles, and during the last quarter of the 7th and early 6th century BCE with the rosette stamp impressions. They argue that this same administrative system of stamping jar handles continued in Judah after 586 BCE for an additional 450 years, when Judah was a Babylonian province (the mwṣh and lion stamped handles), as well as a Persian, Ptolemaic and Seleucid province (the yhwd and the yršlm stamped handles).

Explaining and dating the stamped jar handles using these two diverse methodologies raises points of dispute regarding the archaeological material and its historical interpretation. This is also a good theoretical case-study for discussing how to deal with and interpret archaeological material and is an example of the implication of this archaeological data on our understanding of the history of Judah. Therefore, in this paper I summarize the point of dispute and discuss its implications on the connections between archaeological facts and its interpretation, as well as the meaning of all this for our understanding of the history of Judah.

Give it a read.

Christopher Rollston: On the Greek Inscription on the ‘Jonah Ossuary’, Again

Christopher posts on the ASOR Blog

The publication of a four-line Greek inscription from a tomb in East Talpiyot (Jerusalem) has generated substantial interest, especially because of the dramatic claims surrounding it (Tabor and Jacobovici 2012).  James Tabor has argued that this inscription reads as follows: “DIOS IAIO UPSŌ AGB.”  He translates it as “Divine Jehovah Lift up, Lift up.” He believes this to be a Christian tomb (in fact, he states that it is arguably that of Joseph of Arimathea) and that this inscription is to be understood as reflective of an early Christian confession of a belief in the resurrection (and he has also argued that some of the ornamentation on a different ossuary from the same tomb is distinctively Christian).  Richard Bauckham accepts all of Tabor’s readings (i.e., the Greek graphemes Tabor believes are present), but he translates the inscription as follows: “Belonging to Zeus IAIO.  I, Hagab, exalt (him/you).”  It is of some consequence, however, that Bauckham goes on to state “I do not think the inscription has anything to do with Jesus of Early Christianity, but I do think it is one of the most interesting of ossuary inscriptions and that it has a contribution to make to our understanding of early Judaism” (Bauckham 2012).

That’s right- Rollston takes on Tabor and Bauckham.  Nicely.

Americans can be Vile, Vile People

via Thomas Bolin on FB

One can only presume that the owner of this car is on his way to a KKK meeting in some Texas hovel.  What sort of vile and malicious, evil, wicked, racist malcontent would 1) come up with such a sticker; and 2) sport it on their car?

Americans, you disappoint me.

Georg Strecker

Georg Strecker, New Testament scholar supreme, was born on the 15th of March, 1929- making today the anniversary of his birth.  He was a student of Rudolf Bultmann’s and he took up a teaching post at Bonn after he finished his studies in 1968.  He then moved to Göttingen where he assumed the chair previously occupied by none less than Joachim Jeremias.

Over the course of his career he traveled widely, lecturing in Europe, North America, and Japan.  His bibliography is more than a little impressive.  Especially good is his New Testament Theology, which you really ought to read.  In fact, in order of the three best ever written Bultmann’s is first, Hahn’s is second, and Strecker’s is third.

So, to the good Professor, Happy Birthday!

Robert Cargill Solves the Riddle of the ‘Jonah Ossuary’ Iconography

Here.  Another hole punched in the Tabor/Simcha theory.  Or if you prefer another metaphor, another nail in the coffin.

By the way, Robert is too humble.  His ‘suggestion’ is patently superior to the one put forth by the purveyors of the item.

UPDATE:  Steve Caruso adds some relevant insight- aspect!

What Robert Deutsch Wrote in 2005 About the ‘Trial of the Century’

I quote

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has simply have gone too far, beyond any limits of the law or of basic decency, in an effort to destroy my reputation. I can no any longer remain silent. The full story must now be told.

The IAA’s efforts, lead by its director, Shuka Dorfman, and his agents Amir Ganor and Ron Kehati, to terminate the legal trade of antiquities in Israel, has lead them to file malicious, criminal and intentionally false charges against me. Their accusations against me are completely false. The charges being leveled against me now are a repetition of previous false accusations made by the IAA, which were heard by the court in Israel and were found to be totally baseless and without any merit.

Yet they persist in their harassment against licensed antiquities dealers in Israel by making false and malicious charges against me. They have made it perfectly clear that I am their prime target because, using their words, I am “the leader of the legal antiquities trade in Israel and the most knowledgeable in his field.”

Their goal is quite simple: to destroy the reputation I have painstakingly built over the last twenty-five years. To do so they have acted to negate my academic reputation as a lecturer at Haifa University, where I teach ancient inscriptions for the past 8 years, and my role as an active field archaeologist for the past 12 years at the Tel Aviv University Megiddo Expedition.
They will do whatever it takes to stop my writing books (11 to date) and many articles because in them I publish finds from private collections (which is, in fact, a rescue publication of items which otherwise would remain forever unknown to the archaeological community). But now they have crossed the Rubicon, making new accusations against me that are not only blatantly false, but purposely intended to link me with the activities of others with whom I have absolutely no connection.

In a news conference the IAA has insinuated that I had “an involvement in a ring dealing with forgeries.” They purposely distorted the truth by announcing my name as one of the “criminals,” with the malicious intent to connect me in the mind of the public with the fake Joash inscription and the highly debated James ossuary. Even the IAA has never made such charge against me; the IAA knows perfectly well that I never saw either of these pieces before they were published, nor did I have any connection with them what-so-ever. Yet they purposely and maliciously linked my name with these objects and with the pomegranate “forgery” sold to the Israel Museum, with which I also had absolutely no involvement. The IAA never charged me with any involvement with these objects, yet included my name in their announcement of indictments against those that did, to purposely give the misimpression that I had some involvement with them. Again the purpose of the IAA is clear: to destroy my reputation and ability to continue to be a licensed antiquities dealer, and thereby harass, intimidate and destroy all of the antiquities dealers that operate in Israel in full compliance with Israeli law.

IAA agents carry government credentials making them the equivalent of policemen, but with far more encompassing power. Their ostensible mandate is to prevent the looting of archaeological sites in Israel and to supervise the legal antiquities trade. In their total control over the issuance of trade licenses and export licenses, they act simultaneously as investigators, interpreters of the law, promulgators of regulations, judges, and experts in antiquities. Using their almost unlimited power in the area, their harassment against me (using methods which would not embarrass even a senior KGB agent) started 25 years ago when I received my license to deal with antiquities, and has continued unabated. The following are just some of the unconscionable acts the IAA has perpetrated against me:

1. An IAA agent has “visited” my shops at least once every single month in the past 25 years (and sometimes as often as once a week), checking my inventory and the provenance of the items which I sell. They often take pictures of items that I own without my permission and issue frequent gratuitous oral and written warnings to me not to break the law.

2. IAA agents have attended every one of the 33 public antiquities auctions which I have held during the past 17 years, making obvious note of the buyers and collectors in attendance.

3. The IAA has spread false rumors about me and my activities in order to cause tension and suspicion between me and other licensed dealers and collectors.

4. IAA agents remind me continuously that they have established and maintain a file on each dealer containing the dealer’s “profiles and activities, and that my file is the thickest of all of them.

5. The IAA has recorded or tape-recorded all of my conversation with the IAA, oral or telephonic, and continues to keep such recordings “in my file.”

6. IAA agents suddenly appeared at the area that I supervise at the Megiddo excavation site for the sole purpose of embarrassing me before the excavation directors, my colleagues and my team members.

7. I was humiliated many times by IAA agents who continually conduct “investigations” into my activities. All allegations made by the IAA against me in the past were proven to be either false or fabricated, and totally without merit.

8. In the last year, under the pretext of their “investigation of forgeries,” I was interrogated over twenty times by IAA agents, and by the police under the supervision of the IAA agents, humiliating me and treating me as a criminal by taking my fingerprints and photograph.

9. Four IAA agents, flashing an improper warrant, in search of “looted antiquities,” entered my three shops and my residence, confiscating not illegally obtained antiquities (which I have never had), but my business and my personal computers, together with documents which had nothing conceivably to do with their “investigation,” but contained material for my new book and my PhD research thesis.

This is only a very short list of the illegal and unethical activities of the IAA directed at me.

The public announcements and press conference by the IAA during this last week (December 2004), in which they purposely linked my name to a host of allegedly illegal activities with which the IAA knows that I have absolutely no connection, leaves me no alternative but to immediately file suit against the IAA and its agents personally, for irreversibly damaging my name and reputation and for the serious financial consequences of their malicious and criminal acts.

I am greatly encouraged and appreciative of the great outpouring of support I have received from my clients and colleagues. I will continue to do all within my power to establish the veracity of my claims and the ultimate vindication of my name and reputation.


Divine Fire: The Beginnings of Calvinism

A new novel, yes, novel, has been published by Neukirchener Verlag that looks right fun-

Rouen, 1527. Bei einer Hinrichtung von Pestsäern gerät der Schneidersohn Henri in einen Streit mit einem adligen Freund. Er ist gezwungen, seine Heimat zu verlassen, und geht nach Paris, wo er mit dem Studium der Theologie beginnt. Er lernt den Mönch Jacques kennen, der ihn mit den Gedanken der Reformatoren bekannt macht. Es zieht Henri nach Genf, einem Zentrum der Reformation, wo er in der neuen, evangelischen Kirche eine geistliche Heimat findet. Und dort begegnet er auch Johannes Calvin …

Im Rahmen dieser packend und klug erzählten Handlung mit ihren lebendigen Charakteren gibt der Autor einen tiefen Einblick in die Geschichte und Theologie der Schweizer Reformation und die Gedanken eines ihrer größten Vordenker.

My birthday’s coming up (in August…) just in case you’re looking for something to get me….

More Islamic Hatred of Christianity

Our ‘good friends’ the Saudis have a leading and influential voice calling for all churches in the Gulf states to be destroyed.

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has said it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region,” following Kuwait’s moves to ban their construction.  Speaking to a delegation in Kuwait, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, stressed that since the tiny Gulf state was a part of the Arabian Peninsula, it was necessary to destroy all of the churches in the country, Arabic media have reported.  Saudi Arabia’s top cleric made the comment in view of an age-old rule that only Islam can be practiced in the region.

Imagine what would happen if some important American cleric declared that all mosques in the country be destroyed… oh the (rightful) outrage that would descend from every corner.  Yet let a Saudi Sheikh say that churches should be destroyed and all of Islam is silent.  That says everything about the ‘religion of peace’ that needs to be said.  (HT George Athas on FB).

Young Americans: Less Civic Minded and Less Environmentally Conscience Than their Forebears

 They have a reputation for being environmentally minded do-gooders. But an academic analysis of surveys spanning more than 40 years has found that today’s young Americans are less interested in the environment and in conserving resources – and often less civic-minded overall – than their elders were when they were young.

Unsurprising really given the fact that many young adults are more concerned with money than they are with anything else.

The findings go against the widespread belief that environmental issues have hit home with today’s young adults, known as Millennials, who have grown up amid climate change discussion and the mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle.” The environment is often listed among top concerns of young voters.

If you want most Millenials, you need merely bribe them.  That’s how to get them engaged in anything, anything at all. Pay them- they’ll help.  Ask them to do it without any measure of self interest- and you can, as they say in Brooklyn, ‘fuggetaboutit’.  They aren’t their Grandparent’s generation.

Rare indeed and a true treasure the young adult who gives.  Most are simply takers.