Daily Archives: 20 Mar 2012

Because the Tennessee State Legislature Has Nothing Better to Do

WREG reports

You see it on the streets, teens, and even grown men letting their pants sag, some so low, their underwear is fully exposed.    But they’re not the only ones being targeted by a proposed bill in Nashville.  It would ban girls from working out in sports bras.  “A bathing suit is less than what we run in. We run in more and we run in the hottest part of the day.”, said  Kelsey Bizzell.  Lawmakers say the idea was born out of athletic events at some Tennessee schools. They felt girls playing ball sometimes showed too much in these days of sexual predators.  Bill Hoffman coaches college students and says it’s hard enough getting kids to be active — this certainly isn’t going to help.

Yes working out in clothing designed to be worn while working out is a disastrous thing which needs legislative attention…  Thanks for even bringing it up.  It makes us all look oh so smart.

Thomas Bolin’s Commentary on Ezra and Nehemiah: An Excerpt

With thanks to Thomas for mentioning this excerpt from his forthcoming commentary on Ezra/Nehemiah on FB-

The books of Ezra and Nehemiah relate the return of the Jewish exiles from Babylon during the rule of the early Persian kings. For a long time, interpretations of these two books by Christian exegetes characterized the Judaism of the post-exilic age as narrow and nationalistic. This interpretation led to a separation of post-exilic Judaism from its pre-exilic Israelite roots that allowed for a supersessionist reading of the Old Testament based on perceived deficiencies in the religious views of the post-exilic era.

Informed by recent advances in our knowledge of the Persian Empire, this commentary, demonstrates that Ezra and Nehemiah offer a compelling story of a people’s attempt to reassemble the fragments of their heritage as they face the future in a greatly changed world.

There Are Idiots Afoot and They Write Creepy Letters to Scholars!

Take this dollop of lunacy which a friend received and shared….  this guy deserves a Dilly the Dilettante Award and so he’s getting one!

Here’s your Dilly, nutbag-

How Denver is Like too Many Christians

Denver Broncos fans are like too many Christians: they’re loyal for the first few months and then they don’t even remember the one who’s helped them.

Post-Doc Position in Dead Sea Scrolls at the University of Agder

The postdoctoral position is a part of a four-year project, jointly sponsored by UiA and the Norwegian Research Council, entitled “Biblical’ Texts Older than the Bible” (the project description may be obtained by contacting arstein.justnes@uia.no). Examples of thematic fields relevant for the project include the interplay between so-called ”authoritative” writings, other texts and the social context in the second temple period, ”biblical” diversity in the second temple period (different recensions and reworked ”scripture”), or use of new/material philology in text editions of and interpretation of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Other desiderata in Qumran research with relevance for the project will also be considered.

The appointee is expected to enter into binding cooperation with the research team, and will actively contribute to strengthening the faculty research environment. He/she will among other things be responsible for leading the bi-weekly Forum on Holy Scriptures and receive assignments connected to publishing and editing during the project period.

The appointee must have a doctoral degree or equivalent in relevant subject areas (preferably Dead Sea Scrolls or Old Testament), and it is desirable that applicants have completed their doctorate within the past five years. Relevant applicants must have received approval of their doctoral thesis within the application deadline.

Applicants must submit a project description in English (a maximum of 8 pages including bibliography).

Further information here, with thanks to Eibert Tigchelaar for mentioning it.

The Dutch Government is Going to Investigate the Catholic Church for Castrating Over 400 Boys

And it should!

The Dutch government has promised to investigate “very serious and shocking” allegations that hundreds of teenage boys and young men were castrated while in the care of the Dutch Roman Catholic Church as a treatment for homosexuality in the 1950s.

And it seems the facts are far worse than revealed a few days ago…

Ivo Opstelten, the Dutch justice minister, told MPs that he would investigate the involvement of the police or the health authorities in alleged cases. “We will get to the bottom of it to the extent the government is concerned,” he said. The investigation follows reports that young men under the age of 21 were surgically castrated “to get rid of homosexuality” while in the care of the Dutch Roman Catholic Church. According to Dutch social historians at least 400 men were castrated in the post-war period up until 1968, over 40 per cent were classed homosexuals. One Dutch psychiatrist with close links to the Catholic Church was known as the “the castrator of the Netherlands”.

400 men and more????? That’s INHUMAN!!!!  Sick.  Sick.  Sick.

Rollston on the Misprision of Mara at Talpiot

Chris has a useful post at the ASOR blog today titled


in which he takes apart the argument that ‘Mara’ is Mary. In particular, he shows that Tabor and Jacobovici’s reading of Mara is skewed and inaccurate.

There is no discussion by Tabor and Jacobovici about the fact that mara is also a very fine masculine form of this Aramaic word (especially the determined state, but even in the absolute state).

After meticulously presenting his evidence, he continues

… although the name mara (to use the Greek spelling) might sometimes be used as a shortened form of the name or title martha’, the fact remains that it is not methodologically permissible to assume that mara is always a feminine (i.e., a shortened form of martha’). After all, as discussed above, the form mr’ (mara) is most readily understood as an Aramaic masculine (cf. also Rahmani 1994, #561). Thus, any historical construct built on the assumption that mara is definitively feminine must be considered a tenuous case indeed. For this reason, I find it to be quite problematic that Tabor and Jacobovici assume that the occurrences of mara on these ossuaries must be feminine. The philological evidence demonstrates decisively that mara can readily be a masculine form and so this certainly merited a discussion byTabor and Jacobovici in these recent publications.


In short, it is plausible to contend that in Talpiyot 1981 (i.e., Talpiyot B), the word mara refers to a man, not a woman.

And then there’s more. There’s just nothing left of Tabor’s argument. Not concerning the inscription. Not concerning the iconography. And now, not even concerning the interpretation of ‘mara’. Tabor/Jacobovici have had their entire argument weighed in the balances and it has been found terribly wanting.

UPDATE on the Tabor/ Rollston/ Goodacre Talpiot Panel Discussion at ASOR

I mentioned a couple of  weeks ago the fact that ASOR Southeast will have a panel discussion on the Talpiot discovery next year when it meets in Greenville (March, 2013).  I’m glad to say that the President of ASOR Southeast writes today-

Yes we have cleared this with the powers that be at the conference that this will be an open session.
Dr. John D. Wineland
ASOR SE President

So if you’re in Greenville or the vicinity and you want to sit in on the discussion, you’re welcome to do it.  Again, it should be loads of fun.

On Or About March 20, 1538…

Heinrich Bullinger published his spectacular broadside against the ‘tyranny’ of Rome titled De scripturae sanctae authoritate.  It is comprised of two books really, the first describing the authority of Scripture and the second the ‘establishment and task’ of the Bishop.  The whole is dedicated to Henry VIII.  It was published in a beautiful folio edition of 188 pages plus the dedication to the king and the foreword.

In it Bullinger offers readers what can best be described as a theology of scripture, scriptural authority, and the task of interpretation.  The Bishop, he insists, is to be a learned man who serves the Word, not a tyrant who plays the prince and is served by others.

Everything is amply illustrated from scripture and history.  It’s a fine read.  Even now.  It’s presently available in modern German translation in the second volume of Bullingers Schriften.

Snyder Sees a Stroke

Responding to Chris Rollston’s reading of the Talpiot inscription, H.G. Snyder opines

In spite of Rollstons’ obvious expertise and in spite of his assurances as to what is possible or not possible where letter forms are concerned I cannot help but see a stroke on the bottom of the “tau” (or “iota”) in this picture (this photo and those that follow are from Associate Producers, Ltd.). There are indeed scuff marks of various kinds on the box. It is true that the top bar is incised more deeply than the stroke on the bottom, but it just seems to me there’s a stroke there, not just a scuff. Others may disagree.

Snyder confesses that he has been privy to the project for quite a while, but remains unconvinced that Tabor has the issue correct:

For the record, Bauckham and I were not given the so-called Jonah image until later, when the people at the Discovery Channel forwarded an advance copy of the film for our scholarly comment. At that time, I expressed the opinion that the figure on that ossuary represents an amphora or a vessel of some kind, however non-standard, and cannot be taken as an image of Jonah, and nothing has occurred to dissuade me from that judgment. I say this to make it clear that in nearly all matters of consequence, I do not share the conclusions presented in the book or the film.

He concludes, after presenting his reading of several questionable letters-

I wish to make two main points, with which I conclude

1) Our chances of getting the reading correct increase as we take more photos from different angles into consideration, and

2) Pace Rollston’s position, I would argue that the initial iota in line two, however anomalous in its form, is not ruled out, nor is the “epsilon” in that same line, to be regarded as firmly established.

So what we have isn’t a disagreement over substance (both Rollston and Snyder don’t believe Tabor is correct), but over a minor discrepancy in readings.

Anti-Intellectualism, Ignorance, and a Lack of Understanding of What Archaeology Does, and Is

Someone’s pimping a book on coin collecting, adulating amateurs who collect trinkets for their private pleasure, and actually writing

Coins from all over the world

Coins from all over the world (Photo credit: jcarlosn)

Today, some archaeologists know so little about ancient coins that they see their only function as a means to date an archaeological site. These misguided academics lobby against private collecting and support overreaching regulation of the hobby and trade. None of them have significantly enriched our understanding of the past through ancient coins and some have gone so far as to condemn the efforts of private scholars. Fortunately, coin collecting is still a democratic activity and not a cloistered and sequestered exercise.

Thus demonstrating both profound ignorance of what archaeology does and the inescapable conclusion that the author of the piece has never met an actual archaeologist.

It’s just this sort of anti-intellectualism, ignorance, and most of all the quest for profit or material gain that fuels the illegal trade in antiquities AND tv specials, books, and mockumentaries aimed at the gullible and ignorant public.  The ‘Ancient Coin Collectors Guild’ should be utterly ashamed of itself.

Very Bad News for Grad Students

US News reports

A big change is coming soon for graduate students who use federal student loans to fund their education.

Currently, grad students with demonstrated financial need can take out subsidized Stafford loans, which don’t accrue interest until after graduation. Through school and six months after graduation, the government pays for the interest that accrues on subsidized loans.

But starting July 1, graduate students will no longer be eligible for the federal subsidy. If you already have a subsidized Stafford loan, you won’t be responsible for the interest that accrues until after you graduate, but any new federal Stafford loans taken out by graduate students as of July 1 will be unsubsidized. Unless you make interest payments while you’re in school, the federal loans will accrue interest at a fixed rate of 6.8 percent as you work toward graduation. The unsubsidized Stafford loans will also have a 1 percent origination fee starting July 1.

Sorry about that but we have wars to fight and of course our government (led by its Christian Zionist lunatics) want one with Iran too, so there’s just no money for anything else.

Quote of the Day

I think it’s important to protect the lives of innocent civilians in Libya and Syria, but let’s start with Florida. — Andy Borowitz

[I couldn’t, I just couldn’t agree more].

Why does Health Care Cost So Much? Ask The Lobbyists and their Congressional Lackeys

Because in the rest of the civilized world, costs are much lower.  Check out this chart (via TM Law)

Big oil, big finance, big medicine… if you want to curse the causes of the high costs of gas and interest and medical treatment it’s time to look at the source: the lobbyists employed by those industries and their slaves in Congress who do their bidding- at your expense.  And you keep voting for them.  So look in the mirror, because when all is said and done, it’s your own fault for sending the same thieves and criminals back to Washington that you always send.

The Feds are Taking Over the Investigation into Trayvon Martin’s Vicious Murder

NPR reports this morning

Here are some of the latest developments in a story that has captured attention across the nation and raised again the issue of race relations in America— the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., last month:

— As we reported late last night, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is sending officials to Florida and the FBI has opened an investigation into the “facts and circumstances” of the killing.   On Morning Edition, Mark Simpson of member station WMFE reported that community relations staff from Justice will try to address the tensions raised by the Feb. 26 incident. Family members and supporters say the local police department has failed to investigate the claim of 28-year-old George Zimmerman that he acted in self defense while out on a neighborhood watch patrol.

— The local Seminole County Sheriff’s Office on Monday released six recordings from among the “dozens of times” that Zimmerman called police over the past year to report what he said was suspicious activity in his neighborhood. According to the Orlando Sentinel, “in four of the recordings Zimmerman called police to report ‘suspicious’ persons — all of whom were black — in or near the Retreat at Twin Lakes neighborhood.”

Read the rest.  With the Feds involved, the local ‘cops’ may well find themselves the subject of investigation into their handling of this tragic and completely unnecessary act of cruelty.

There are Only 10 Days Left…

For you to get your Biblical Studies Carnival recommendations in. If you’ve seen something nifty or spiffy, pass word along so it can be included in the roundup. With thanks.

Pentebabbleism Strikes Again…

With it’s deficient doctrine and false pride in self-spirituality. What kind of cult teaches a 16 year old that his faith is ‘full grown’ at that (or any) age??

Via Michael Acidri on FB.

The ‘James Ossuary Trial’ – From the Perspective of the Danes

Er Jakobskisten, der nævner Jesus, alligevel ægte? That’s the question posed- and the essay commences

I sidste uge faldt der dom i den retssag, der skulle afgøre, om Jakobskisten er et falskneri. Dommen lød: Ikke skyldig
Foran rullende kameraer blev en måbende verdenspresse den 21. oktober 2002 præsenteret for en lille benkiste af sten, der på siden har indskriften: ”Jakob, søn af Josef, bror til Jesus”. Dagen efter ryddede den nyhed alverdens forsider om, at der var fundet en genstand, der gik direkte tilbage til Jesus. Ejeren af kisten var Oded Golan, en jødisk antikvitetssamler. Han påstod at have købt den i 1970’erne og havde aldrig tænkt over, at indskriften kunne have noget med Bibelens Jesus at gøre. Som han sagde: ”Jeg vidste ikke, at Guds søn kunne have en bror”.

By Morten Hørning Jensen. With thanks to him for pointing it out. It’s interesting that the trial has generated interest around the world.

You Know That’s Right…

via Dot King on FB