Daily Archives: 3 May 2012

Judean Ethnic Identity in the First Century CE

Philip Esler has a grand essay on the subject of ethnic identity over on Bible and Interpretation.

The key issue is to get right the identity of the people referred to in our sources as Ioudaioi (in Greek) or Judaei (in Latin). Rather than seeing them as “Jews” who were adherents of the religion “Judaism,” they are, in my view, best viewed as the members of an ethnic group originating in Judea most appropriately called “Judeans.” Even scholars who have now begun to drop words like “ethnic” or “national” into discussion of people they continue to refer to as “Jews” rarely appreciate the implications of this step.


Dr Hedgeh…

Via Andrew Davies on the twitter… the funniest sign ever-

As Thomas Bolin Says, ‘God Bless These Patriotic ‘Job Creators”

Compensation for chief executives at American companies grew 15 percent in 2011 after a 28 percent rise in 2010, part of a larger trend that has seen CEO pay skyrocket over the last three decades. Workers, on the other hand, have been left behind.

Since 1978, CEO pay at American firms has risen 725 percent, more than 127 times faster than worker pay over the same time period, according to new data from the Economic Policy Institute:

From 1978 to 2011, CEO compensation increased more than 725 percent, a rise substantially greater than stock market growth and the painfully slow 5.7 percent growth in worker compensation over the same period.

Yes, they’re clearly the nation’s greatest assets and care more about the country than anyone else.  [NB- Fool, what will become of all thy goods?  This night thy soul is required of thee!’].

The ‘godly’ Republicans who shelter and serve and protect these greedy self serving mammon worshipers are just the same as they are:  servants of mammon, not humanity.  The GOP is ‘God’s own party’ in the same way that a pig is a chicken.

A New Essay by Aren Maeir

Aren kindly mentions this new contribution to the field-

Gur-Arieh, S., Boaretto, E., Maeir, A. M., and Shahack-Gross, R. 2012. Formation Processes in Philistine Hearths from Tell es-Safi/Gath (Israel): An Experimental Approach. Journal of Field Archaeology 37(2): 121–31.

Here’s the abstract-

Ancient cooking installations yield important evidence for cooking technology and human diet. A cooking installation termed the Philistine pebble hearth is associated with the arrival of the Philistines at the beginning of the Iron Age in the southern Levant (ca. early/mid-12th century B.C.). These installations have been studied using traditional methods, focusing on a description of form and style in relation to the pottery of the period. Here we present a study using an experimental approach. We prepared three sets of experimental pebble hearths to study the pebbles’ thermal behavior in relation to their volume. The comparison of these results with observations of Iron Age I archaeological hearths reveals different patterns in pebble shattering and soot patterns, indicating that the archaeological hearths were used in a different manner than the experimental ones. The experiments highlight the utility of shattered pebbles as an indicator of the use of fire directly on Philistine hearths, even in the absence of ash and/or charcoal. They also demonstrate that these installations may have been used with open fire or live embers. The results are applicable to the study of hearths worldwide, with implications for appropriate excavation methods and basic identification of ancient pyrotechnologies.

Iran’s War Against Christianity Continues

After detaining 33-year-old Christian pastor Farshid Fathi for 16 months without indictment, judicial authorities finally sentenced him to six years in prison in April 2012. Fathi’s indictment is part of a continuing pattern of discrimination and persecution of Christian converts in Iran.

Authorities allegedly kept him in solitary confinement the vast majority of his detention, and according to one family friend, beat him. Behnam Irani, a Christian pastor whose prison sentence was extended by five years just before his October 2011 release, is reportedly in dire physical condition. Irani and Fathi have both appealed their sentences.

In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, a source close to Farshid Fathi and his family said that all of Fathi’s alleged “crimes” were simply his work as a pastor: “The Bibles we brought to the country were seen as a crime, having more than one Bible or distributing Bibles were seen as a crime, having Christian literature was part of the crime …”

May the good Christians suffering persecution merely because they’re Christians in Iran and elsewhere find freedom and peace.

Total Depravity: The Murderous Pastor Edition


A Missouri woman has admitted helping plan her husband’s murder with her lover, who was also her church pastor.  Teresa Stone, 40, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to commit murder in the March 2010 shooting death of Randy Stone of Independence. Stone entered the plea with the understanding that her maximum sentence would be 10 years, officials said.

Teresa Stone remains free on bond while awaiting sentencing, which Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Marco Roldan scheduled for June 15.  Prosecutors accused Stone of conspiring with her minister, David Love, who is serving a life prison sentence after admitting he shot Randy Stone to death. Love pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and armed criminal action.

Love once was the pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Independence and delivered part of Randy Stone’s eulogy. He moved to South Carolina not long after Stone’s death and was arrested there in November 2010 after a Jackson County grand jury indicted him on charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action.

Someone needs to tell this ‘pastor’ that adultery and murder are both evil perversions.  He must have been one of those ‘pastors’ who never paid any attention to the bible and got his ‘messages’ from those vile ‘sermon outline books’ (may God curse them and their users).

The First Bible, In Inuit

I love stories like this.

The Bible is by far the most translated book in history. Portions of the Old and New Testaments have been translated into more than 2,500 languages. According to United Bible Societies, the complete Bible has been rendered into 469 tongues as of 2010.

Add Inuktitut to that list.

Later this spring, an entire Bible in Inuktitut, the language of Inuit people and the most widely spoken aboriginal tongue in Canada’s Arctic, will be dedicated at an igloo-shaped church in Nunavut, an autonomous region carved out of the Northwest Territories in 1999.

Begun in 1978, the massive task marks the first time in Canada that a translation of the whole Bible was accomplished entirely by native speakers of the language rather than by white missionaries.

It was kick-started by the late Rev. Eugene Nida, considered the father of modern biblical translation, whose major contribution to the field was the concept of “functional equivalence.” Instead of using literal translations, the idea was to convey meaning by incorporating native culture and idiom into the Bible’s story.

Brilliant.  Just fantastic.

World Press Freedom Day… Except Where There Isn’t Freedom

Today is World Press Freedom Day.  A day that won’t be observed in the countries exhibiting the most egregious violations of freedom- Iran, North Korea, and of course Syria.

And in Palestine, protests are underway demanding freedom for the Palestinians and not just freedom for the press.

Israel and its defenders often boast that it is the “only democracy in the Middle East,” where people can openly express opposition to government policies. However, when comparing a protest in Tel Aviv for “social justice” with one in the West Bank for Palestinian rights, it becomes clear that the freedom to demonstrate and the means used to disperse them depend on where you are and who you are. This illustration is the third in a series of infographics on the effect of the occupation on the Palestinian civilian population.

Here’s the eye opener (click to enlarge) :

It’s easy to see who is treated with kid gloves and who with an iron fist.  Freedom for the Palestinians will never be a reality until they have their own State.  It’s time.  Or will the government of Netanyahu be allowed to forever oppress the Palestinians in just the same way that the governments of Syria, North Korea, and Iran oppress their dissidents?

Twitter Fraud- Beware

Whilst checking the twitter this morning I noticed I had a direct message, apparently from TM Law:

So I thought, wow, someone else is mad at me about something… isn’t that odd…   And, by the way, it did seem odd that Law would direct message me when he could more easily have dropped me an email or a facebook note.  The phrase ‘this user’ also seemed strange.  Why not just name the name?  So, needless to say, I was suspicious.

But I clicked the link and was taken to this page:

None of which seemed right.  First, I was clearly signed in to twitter (else I wouldn’t have seen the DM).  Second, notice the date at the bottom of the page: 2011.  Am I really to believe that twitter hasn’t updated its page since 2011?  I don’t think so.  So I did not, and would not, send in my username or password.  It’s got to be fraud and potentially computer hacking.

All of which is to say, if you get a vague direct message and then a login page, don’t fall for it.  Someone, somewhere definitely is mad at you, and frankly who cares.

Besides, as the links below show, this is a scam that’s been around.  The folk who purportedly direct message you have had their info stolen, so you might want to warn them.

Oh Come On Princess, Toughen Up


This headline sums it all up-

He just can’t stomach porridge: Thief who wept at the prospect of prison because he’s a ‘fussy eater’ has sentence reduced.

He’s tough enough to be a thief but he can’t eat porridge?????? And he cried???? Oh come on. And the judge fell for it? Dump him in a slime-pit dungeon and let him enjoy his entire sentence there.

A young thief who whinged that he could not go to prison because he is a ‘fussy eater’ today had his sentence slashed by appeal judges. Unemployed dad-of-one Patrick Fairley, 20, burst into tears when told he might be jailed, saying it was impossible because he would not like the food. But Fairley, from North Shields, was locked up for six months at Newcastle Crown Court in March after pleading guilty to theft.

So basically he’s the master of bad choices: he’s a dad but he’s not married. He’s a thief. And he’s a whiner. I blame the judge for buying into it.  I bet when he gets out he turns from simple theft to armed robbery and murder.