Daily Archives: 28 May 2012

The Aramaic Renaissance

Two villages in the Holy Land’s tiny Christian community are teaching Aramaic in an ambitious effort to revive the language that Jesus spoke, centuries after it all but disappeared from the Middle East.  The new focus on the region’s dominant language 2,000 years ago comes with a little help from modern technology: an Aramaic-speaking television channel from Sweden, of all places, where a vibrant immigrant community has kept the ancient tongue alive.

“We want to speak the language that Jesus spoke,” said Carla Hadad, a 10-year-old Jish girl who frequently waved her arms to answer questions in Aramaic from school teacher Mona Issa during a recent lesson.  “We used to speak it a long time ago,” she added, referring to her ancestors.  During the lesson, a dozen children lisped out a Christian prayer in Aramaic. They learned the words for “elephant,” “how are you?” and “mountain.” Some children carefully drew sharp-angled Aramaic letters. Others fiddled with their pencil cases, which sported images of popular soccer teams.  The dialect taught in Jish and Beit Jala is “Syriac,” which was spoken by their Christian forefathers and resembles the Galilean dialect that Jesus would have used, according to Steven Fassberg, an Aramaic expert at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

There’s more and it’s nicely written.

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Posted by on 28 May 2012 in Modern Culture


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You Can’t Say ‘Dad’, You Might Offend Same Sex Couples…

What madness over in the United Kingdom!

The Health Service has removed the word ‘dad’ from a pregnancy handbook for fear of offending gay and lesbian parents.  Officials decided to use the term ‘partner’ throughout the 200-page guide, titled Ready Steady Baby, after receiving a complaint that ‘dad’ was discriminating against same-sex couples.

But the omission of the word has angered some campaigners who claim that traditional family values are being undermined.  Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust, said: ‘This is all part of an agenda to present as natural a type of family that cannot be created by natural means.  ‘The NHS should not be squandering taxpayers’ money to advance the cause of a minority interest group.  ‘No matter how much effort is made to present positive images of families headed by same-sex couples, the fact remains it takes a man and a woman to create a child.’Robert Oxley, from the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘It’s barmy that the NHS is wasting money reprinting guides because of a single complaint. Becoming a dad isn’t synonymous with one type of couple so it seems ridiculous to worry about changing it.



Posted by on 28 May 2012 in Modern Culture


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Just How Jewish Was Jesus Anyway?

It’s an interesting question which the inimitable James Crossley poses in his latest posting.  Here are the first two paragraphs:

Given that he is so vocal of late in his political theory of marriage and sexuality, let’s try and cross swords again with Mike Bird – who identifies with ‘subversive ideological terrorists’ and enjoys family picnics – in the ongoing promotion of Jesus in an Age of Neoliberalism. Which is now published, incidentally.

And really just to shoehorn this in, I’m going to turn to what is now an old ‘problem’ of Jesus being as Jewish as the Judaism constructed by scholarship, and how this is compensated in scholarship by the dominant ‘Jewish…but not that Jewish’ Jesus. To repeat yet again, many historical Jesus scholars will now emphasize how Jewish their Jesus is, tell us what constituted Jewish identity in the first century, before having their Jesus transcend this Jewish identity, or at least do something new and unparalleled either generally or on some specific (and often crucial) issue, typically involving the Torah and/or Temple. Subtly or otherwise, this pattern is relentlessly found from the more obscure Jesus scholarship through to the major works on the historical Jesus…whilst claiming how ‘very Jewish’ their Jesus is.

I’ve seen the book which James references in an early pre-publication form- it’s a true thriller in the best sense of the word and the perfect follow-up to his earlier Jesus in an Age of Terror.  So is the present post, which I know you’ll enjoy.

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Posted by on 28 May 2012 in Bible, Books



Pedro Hernandez, You’re Evil

Pedro Hernandez, the former store clerk charged in the 1979 death of 6-year-old Etan Patz after he confessed to the alleged murder, reportedly kept the boy’s body in a walk-in refrigerator in the store’s basement before discarding it.  Hernandez was arrested Thursday after telling authorities that he’d lured the child to his death with the promise of soda.  He reportedly said that he’d strangled Etan and then stuffed the boy’s body into a plastic garbage bag, carried it to another location and then dumped it in the trash.

Here’s what awaits you and all those like you-

Satan chewing Pedro Hernandez

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Posted by on 28 May 2012 in Total Depravity


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What Is War?

Calvin hits the nail on the head when he remarks in connection with divine punishment of injustice-

It matters not whether the punishment is eternal or temporary. For disease, pestilence, famine, and war, are curses from God, as much as even the sentence of eternal death, whenever their tendency is to operate as instruments of divine wrath and vengeance against the reprobate.

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Posted by on 28 May 2012 in Modern Culture



Spain, Don’t You Have Bigger Things to Worry About Than an Artist and Work He did Decades Ago?

A leading Spanish artist faces up to a year in prison after being prosecuted for “offending religious feelings” in relation to a short film he made more than 30 years ago that claimed to show “how to cook Jesus Christ”.

Javier Krahe, who has been a popular and provocative figure in Spain for nearly half a century, made the film in 1978 but it was only shown on Spanish TV in 2004 as a backdrop to an interview with its creator. The little-known charge – comparable with but not identical to Britain’s blasphemy law, remains part of the penal code despite never having been applied before in Spanish legal history.

Krahe’s 54-second film uses the tone of a cooking programme, with chefs advised to remove Jesus’ nails and separate him from his crucifix, which should be left to one side. Christ’s tiny white body – a small figurine is used – is then shown being washed, lightly smothered in butter, placed on a bed of aromatic herbs in a glass tray and popped into an oven. “One gaunt Christ” is apparently enough to feed two, and when the dish is ready (after three days) it miraculously emerges from the oven without assistance.

Sounds like a right stupid ‘film’.  Don’t authorities in Spain have more pressing, and important, and interesting things to expend energy on?  Do Spanish taxpayers really need to pay for the cost of putting a ridiculous filmmaker in prison?

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Posted by on 28 May 2012 in Modern Culture



Conference Announcement: Postmodernity, Discipleship, and Christian Devotion

Via Refo500

Conferentie ‘Navolging en Gemeenschap, Postmoderne Devotie’

Op verschillende locaties in Zwolle zal er op zaterdag 2 juni 2012 vanaf 10:30u een conferentie gehouden worden over het thema ‘Navolging en Gemeenschap, Postmoderne Devotie’.  Met medewerking van o.a. Jan Wessels, Arie Slob, Jan Hoogland, Kardinaal Eijk, Herman Selderhuis, Esmé Wiegman, Mariska van Beusichem en vele anderen.  Voor meer informatie en voor het programma klik hier.

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Posted by on 28 May 2012 in Modern Culture, Theology



How Sad Are You if Justin Bieber Sends You to the Hospital?

Justin Bieber is wanted for questioning by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s investigators after a photographer complained of being roughed up by the pop star at a shopping center.

Sheriff’s Lt. Robert Wiard (ward) says the photographer called 911 on Sunday and complained of pain to his chest. Wiard said the scuffle happened when the photographer tried to snap pictures of Bieber and his girlfriend, teen actress Selena Gomez, after they walked out of a theater at The Commons at Calabasas.

Wiard says the photographer was taken to a hospital where he was treated and released.

Good grief.  What’s Bieber weigh, 8 pounds?  Some photographer is both a whiner and a wimp (and probably just looking for a reason to sue).  If Justin Bieber beat me up, no one would EVER know it!  I would be too ashamed.


Posted by on 28 May 2012 in Modern Culture



Happy Memorial Day!

I hope it’s a pleasant one for each and every one of you.   And I really hope one day we have the brains to ‘beat our spears into pruning hooks’.

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Posted by on 28 May 2012 in Modern Culture