Daily Archives: 24 May 2012

Leave Your Gun Laying Around… And Comfort Yourself With the Fact that It Won’t Kill Anyone, the Careless Child You’ve Left it With Will

An Arkansas man assumed the boy wrapped in a blanket on the futon in his home was his sleeping cousin. But hours later he realized it was a 14-year-old boy he’d never seen before who, police determined Thursday, had been shot while playing with a gun with a friend.  Little Rock police said the boy, TyJuan Woodard, died after he and a 13-year-old friend were playing with a gun that accidentally fired and shot him in the chest Wednesday. The younger boy had covered Woodard’s body with a blanket, then left and spent the night elsewhere without telling anyone what happened, police spokesman Lt. Terry Hastings said.

Doubly tragic because senseless and unnecessary.

Hastings said he wasn’t sure how the boys got a hold of the gun, which belongs to one of the 13-year-old’s relatives. He said they were playing with the gun in a bedroom when it went off and shot the 14-year-old in the chest.

I wasn’t even there and I know how they got a gun:  some senseless adult left it out where it could be found and didn’t bother to keep the bullets locked away as well.  Well done, senseless adult, well done…

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Posted by on 24 May 2012 in Modern Culture, Total Depravity



Even More on the Bethlehem Bulla

Joseph Lauer writes

Dr. Victor Avigdor Hurowitz of Ben-Gurion University initially expressed reservations about the reading of the bulla in the IAA’s press release.

    However, in an e-mail and a posting at his Facebook page he wrote the following about an hour ago: “Retraction about Beytlehem bulla. Friends, I must retract the statements I made a few days ago about the newly found bulla mentioning [b]yt lh(.)m בית לחם. Why? It turns out that my objections were based on a mistaken press release of the bulla issued by the IAA. They offered a transcription and transliteration which were erroneous. My colleague Shmuel Ahituv, an epigrapher, saw the bulla itself and he informs me that the signs on the right which the IAA transcribed as ב are in fact on close examination of the object remnants of a yod. Also, the letter transcribed as ח is indeed such. On the photo it looks like a ה because the down stroke on the left seems to be absent. Ahituv tells me that traces are still visible. In other words, the text reads [ב]ית לחם This is obviously Bethlehem and I have no objections to the identification. In summary, if Ahituv’s transcription and decipherment are correct this bulla is an attestation of this place in an extra-Biblical, Iron Age source. But if the IAA has correctly transcribed the text, my objections stand. So I retract my objection but will not accept blame.”
Shukron’s misreading is now being noted and noticed by nearly everyone.
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Posted by on 24 May 2012 in Archaeology


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The Friendship Paradox…


Posted by on 24 May 2012 in Modern Culture


Aww, Poor Catholics: Their Visions of Mary Aren’t Going to Be Accepted Quite So Easily Anymore

Bummer.  Now all that toast for sale on Ebay with Mary on it will lose its value…

To help bishops determine the credibility of alleged Marian apparitions, the Vatican has translated and published procedural rules from 1978 that had previously been available only in Latin.

The “Norms regarding the manner of proceedings in the discernment of presumed apparitions or revelations” were approved by Pope Paul VI in 1978 and distributed to the world’s bishops, but never officially published or translated into modern languages.

However, over the past three decades, unauthorized translations have appeared around the world, according to U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The doctrinal office “believes it is now opportune to publish these ‘Norms,’ providing translations in the principle languages” so as to “aid the pastors of the Catholic Church in their difficult task of discerning presumed apparitions, revelations, messages or, more generally, extraordinary phenomena of presumed supernatural origin,” the cardinal wrote in a note dated December 2011.

Catholics… you guys crack me up!  Love ya, but ya make me chuckle!

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Posted by on 24 May 2012 in Modern Culture


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Rick Warren’s False Premise Eviscerated and Exposed

Right here, where the essayist observes

Rick Warren, one of the innovators responsible for foisting the “Seeker-Sensitive Model of Church” upon the Body of Christ justifies his radical innovations by alluding to Christ’s statement to Peter that He’d make Peter a “fisher of men”. Evangelism, according to Jesus is akin to fishing. Rick Warren picks up on Jesus’ fishing theme…


What if Rick Warren’s fundamental premise about evangelism / fishing is dead wrong? What if Rick Warren has mixed his metaphors and has drawn incorrect conclusions about what it means to be a “fisher of men”? What if the fishing Jesus was referring to was not bait fishing but NET FISHING would that cause you to rethink the Seeker-Sensitive movement and question whether its methodologies are faithful to Jesus’ Biblical methods of evangelism? It should.

And then he goes on to show, in fine fashion, the absolutely bogus and misleading nonsense which Warren has managed to sell to the theologically inept.

Warren is a heretic who has misled thousands.  He has disciples only because ‘in the last days they will collect teachers who tickle their ears’.  With thanks to M.A. for the tip on FB.

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Posted by on 24 May 2012 in Heresy and Heretics, Theology


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Canada’s Selfish Children

I don’t know if you’ve been following student strikes in Canada but it seems the kids up there are disinterested in paying more for their education and have made life, as a consequence, miserable for thousands of Canadians simply trying to get to work and live their lives.

The level of selfishness on display up north is astonishing. The entitled children are utterly self-involved and now, finally, the government is rightly cracking down.

To be sure, they are free to express their opinions- but their freedom ends at the tips of their noses. Or in other words, they’re free to do what they wish as long as that doesn’t interfere with the rights of honest workers and real tax payers and actual participants in and contributors to society. Freedom has limits and those limits are reached when whiny children make life unbearable for others.

Protests in Montreal and Quebec resulted in the arrest of almost 700 people overnight.

The Toronto Star reports that the demonstrators protested tuition fee increases and they’ve been ongoing for about three months. But, yesterday, police rounded up hundreds of protesters — 518 in Montreal alone.

The Star reports:

“Riot squad officers had been marching on the sidewalk beside the front of the protest all evening. An order to disperse was given when it arrived at Sherbrooke Street because police had been pelted by projectiles and other criminal acts had been committed, Montreal police spokesman Daniel Lacoursiere said. The group had also apparently resisted going in a direction ordered by police.”

The Montreal Gazette reports that last night’s protest was the 30th consecutive march and it started with about “3,000 people walking, chanting and feeling united.”

Perhaps when they have families to support and real bills to pay and children they will appreciate the fact that citizens have the right to go about their daily lives without sniveling kids interfere.


Posted by on 24 May 2012 in Modern Culture



‘In God We Teach’ – A Film on the Separation of Church and State

“In God We Teach” tells the story of a high school student who secretly recorded his history teacher in class, and accused him of proselytizing for Jesus. The teacher, in danger of losing his job strenuously denied it. The specifics of the controversy lead directly to the church & state arguments that are in the news this election year.

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Posted by on 24 May 2012 in Modern Culture



That Bulla That ‘Proves’ The Existence of Bethlehem? Not So Fast!

George Athas convincingly argues that the bulla newly discovered which the IAA says proves the existence of Bethlehem does no such thing at all.

Once again, however, it seems that we have an Israeli archaeologist jumping to inordinate conclusions that simply do not reflect the actual evidence, all so that they can make a sensational political statement about Israel or Judah in antiquity. There are a number of issues with Shukron’s proposal:

And then George shows why Shukron is wrong.  He concludes

It seems we need to wait for some more reliable and unsensational epigraphic analysis to be done on this bulla. Unless I’m very much mistaken(1), it seems fairly clear from the published photo that this bulla does NOT refer to Bethlehem. I lean towards seeing this as the seal of a prominent woman, though ultimately I can’t even be sure of that. Could a decent epigrapher please go and have a look at this seal, or could a generous benefactor pay to fly me over to inspect it?

Links to other reports about this bulla can be found below. You can see from some of the links how quickly news of this find is being disseminated as ‘proof’ for Bethlehem. The thing is, we don’t need this bulla as evidence for Bethlehem’s existence. It’s all rather unnecessarily sensationalist.

I look forward to Chris Rollston’s take on the bulla.  Him, I trust.


Posted by on 24 May 2012 in Archaeology


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Scholars You Should Know: David Lincicum

David is a young scholar (even though he looks 15, he is in fact a good bit older) whose book Paul and Deuteronomy is a ground-breaking look at the use of an Old Testament text by an early Christian (and others).  It’s a book you ought to read if you haven’t already.

He’s a very fine New Testament scholar who has done a good bit of work in the field.  So, for example-

Publications and Projects:

Paul and the Early Jewish Encounter with Deuteronomy. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament II/284. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2010.

With Martin Bauspieß. A translation of F. C. Baur’s 140 pp. 1831 essay, “Die Christuspartei in der korinthischen Gemeinde…” with an introduction to Baur by E. Käsemann and a translators’ introduction for a monograph in SBL’s History of Biblical Studies Series (in progress, to be completed in 2012).

“F. C. Baur’s Place in the Study of Jewish Christianity.” In Rediscovery of Jewish Christianity: From Toland to Baur. Edited by F. Stanley Jones. History of Biblical Studies. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature (forthcoming).

“Thecla’s Auto-Immersion (APTh 4.2-14 [3.27-39]): A Baptism for the Dead?” Apocrypha 21 (2011): 203-13.

“Learning Scripture in the School of Paul: From Ephesians to Justin.” Pages 148-170 in The Early Reception of Paul and His Letters. Edited by K. Liljeström. Publications of the Finnish Exegetical Society 99. Helsinki: The Finnish Exegetical Society, 2011.

“Paul and the Temple Scroll: Reflections on a Shared Engagement with Deuteronomy.” Neotestamentica 43.1 (2009): 69-92. Also to appear in “What Does the Scripture Say?” Studies in the Function of Scripture in the Gospels and Letters of Paul. Edited by C. A. Evans and D. Zacharias. Studies in Scripture in Early Judaism and Christianity 17. London and New York: T&T Clark, 2011.

“The Epigraphic Habit and the Biblical Text: Inscriptions as a Source for the Study of the Greek Bible.” Bulletin of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies 41 (2008): 84-92.

“Greek Deuteronomy’s ‘Fever and Chills’ and Their Magical Afterlife.” Vetus Testamentum 58 (2008): 544-49.

“Paul’s Engagement with Deuteronomy: Snapshots and Signposts.” Currents in Biblical Research 7.1 (2008): 37-67.

“Scripture and Apotropaism in the Second Temple Period.” Biblische Notizen 138 (2008): 63-88.

His interests are

Pauline theology and exegesis; the theological interpretation of Scripture; early Christian readings of the Old Testament; F. C. Baur and his legacy in New Testament scholarship; early Christian pseudepigraphy.

Sure, he should be more interested in the Johannine material (Paul is dull: John is right on) but each of us makes our own (sometimes horrifying) choices.

Read some of David’s work.  I think you’ll be impressed, as he’s quite impressive (and quite a nice person as well).

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Posted by on 24 May 2012 in Modern Culture


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