Daily Archives: 29 May 2012

The Sciency Crowd Has Finally Proven the Reality of Global Warming

via Joel Watts on the Fb

Noah, Build That Ark…

It POURED here today- one of our typical Summer pop-up storms.  I was outside mowing (of course, right) and the deluge came before I finished so I sat under the neighbors carport and shot this little video with my iPhone. You can hear it pouring-

Society for Qur’anic Studies

From SBL-


ATLANTA, May 29, 2012 – The Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) has been awarded a $140,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to support a three-year consultation that will explore the formation of an independent network of Qur’anic scholars. This international consultation will meet to evaluate and frame a vision and mission for a professional organization, namely, a Society for Qur’anic Studies.

“Considering the enormous cultural importance and global influence of the Qur’an, a pressing need exists for an independent and self-defined association of scholars of the Qur’an to do collaborative research and to enrich and inform courses at colleges and universities,” says John F. Kutsko, executive director of SBL and director of the initiative.

The goal of the consultation is to give the academic study of the Qur’an the attention it deserves, says Kutsko, who is also affiliate professor of biblical studies at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University. “By providing more opportunity for research and by bringing more conversation into the classroom, such an organization will also foster mutual understanding and appreciation in the public square.”

“The level of interest in the Qur’an and Islam in the West today is unprecedented. Questions surrounding the Qur’an and its teaching on religious, social and political issues are increasingly raised in educational institutions and popular literature,” says Emran El-Badawi, Assistant Professor of Arab Studies at the University of Houston and co-director of the consultation. “A vast and ever-growing number of websites and online forums are devoted to discussions on the meaning and interpretation of the Qur’an, but no learned society dedicated to the study of the Qur’an exists.”

A Society for Qur’anic Studies (SQS) would play an important role as a meeting place where scholars and students of the Qur’an might present their particular contributions to the study of the Qur’an, while learning from others, says El-Badawi.

At the same time, an SQS would foster the study of the text for its own sake. “The Qur’an is a work of extraordinary importance, both for its witness to the rise of Islam, and for its central place in Islamic societies through the centuries and still today,” says Gabriel Said Reynolds, Tisch Family Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and Theology at the University of Notre Dame and co-director of the consultation.

The network will be an academic forum in which scholars from around the world discuss and publish scholarship on the Qur’an. “Participants will be encouraged to share diverse perspectives and cutting edge research on the Qur’an’s language, its dialogue with other scriptures, and the context in which the text arose,” notes Reynolds. “By approaching the Qur’an as an historical, literary and religious text, SQS will demonstrate the extraordinary and wide-ranging scholarly value of the Qur’an.”

“It cannot be overstated that the agenda of the scholars in this consultation will not be determined or directed by SBL,” says Kutsko. He emphasizes that SBL will serve only to provide the logistical support for Qur’anic scholars to foster their work.

“The guiding principle for the consultation is to ensure that scholars of Qur’anic Studies set their own research and publishing agendas, that our colleagues in this discipline have the resources to determine their own future, and that their impact transcends institutional and international lines,” Kutsko says.

“The founding of a new society for the study of the Qur’an will provide an institutional forum for Qur’anic Studies equal to the study of other religious texts and traditions,” says Vincent Cornell, chair of the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies at Emory University. “This establishes a base for Qur’anic Studies that hasn’t existed before, and thereby makes an important intellectual claim.”

The past two decades have witnessed tremendous growth in scholarship on the Qur’an, says Reynolds. “An annual academic forum on the Qur’an and related publications will allow scholars from a wide range of disciplines a context for collaboration and dialogue. It also will give students and informed members of the public access to a common forum where they will learn from and contribute to this rich discussion.” discussion.”

Contact: Elise Addington | eaddington@quranconsultation.com | 404-727-3111

Fingers Crossed, The Jehoash Tablet and the James Ossuary Might be Destroyed

Then maybe the madness would end.

A Jerusalem judge will announce on Wednesday whether he has decided to order the destruction of a burial box that could have held the bones of the brother of Jesus and an inscribed tablet that could have come from the First Temple. At a Jerusalem District Court hearing in April, Judge Aharon Farkash said he might exercise “the judgement of Solomon” and order both items to be destroyed.

I hope, I sincerely hope, that he does order them destroyed. Fraud begets fraud and when the forgers and the fraudsters see that their nonsense may well end up destroyed it may – just may – help to curtail the lunacy.


Last March, at the end of a trial lasting nearly seven years, a Tel Aviv collector was acquitted of faking the two artifacts and other antiquities by Judge Farkash, vice president of the Jerusalem District Court. But Judge Farkash reserved judgment on whether the ossuary or the stone tablet were authentic because of disagreements between the world’s leading experts. On Wednesday, Judge Farkash will pass sentence on the defendant, Oded Golan, who was acquitted on 41 charges of forgery, fraud and other serious crimes, but found guilty of three minor misdemeanors of trading in antiquities without a license and handling goods suspected of being stolen.

Perhaps prison awaits him as it awaited Raphael Golb (whenever I think of one, I think of the other: they are linked in my mind to forever be together).

Read the rest of the JP article, it’s by the gifted Matthew Kalman.

A Guest Post: On the Proper Understanding of Albert Schweitzer

Stephanie Fisher has been discussing Schweitzer with the mythicists and she’s written a fairly longish rejoinder which I’ve uploaded here and which I’m happy to pass along to you as a guest posting from her.

[You can go here for the back-story- http://rjosephhoffmann.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/the-jesus-process-stephanie-louise-fisher/  and

The Lives of Ordinary People in Ancient Israel

Eerdmans has sent this new volume for review.  And I’ve uploaded it (that is, the review) here.

Further on Clickfree: Adding Folders to Be Backed Up

Back in April I noted that I’d got hold of a backup drive called Clickfree. I have used it regularly since, backing up my hard drive every few days. But until recently I didn’t know how to add other folders to the automatic backup, so I emailed tech support and in less than 24 hours (even though I mailed over the weekend) I received this response:

Please note that if you’re using a Clickfree C6, adding folders to the backup is not possible. I apologize for the inconvenience.

If you do not use a C6, please follow the steps below to add an entire folder to rour backup:

1. Plug your Clickfree into USB and launch the Clickfree software.
2. Click on the Options button.
3. Click on “Change Backup Settings”.
4. Press the “Next” button couple of times to get to Step 3 “Select folders to be entirely copied”.
5. Please expand the Computer/MyComputer icon by clicking on the + sign to the left of it, then navigate from folder to folder unti you see the folder you want to add entirely to the backup. Select it and click on OK.
6. Please click on Next. When you reach “Your settings have been saved”, please click on Done. Then please close the Options screen and run the backup.

Following those steps I managed to add the folders I wanted to with no problems at all. This is one fantastically useful tech tool. I recommend it.

The Power of Faith: 450 Years of the Heidelberg Catechism

This forthcoming volume by my friends Herman Selderhuis and Karla Apperloo looks amazingly interesting!

In diesem Ausstellungsbegleitbuch beschreiben renommierte Fachleute seine Verbreitung und Wirkung auf Kultur, Bildung und das kirchliche Leben. Zudem zeigen sie den Kontext der Entstehungszeit sowie den höfischen Glanz der Kurfürsten und der Oranier. Die Beiträge bilden zusammen mit mehr als 250 eindrucksvollen Bilddokumenten vieler Objekte der drei Ausstellungen ein unvergleichliches Erlebnis!

There’s Nothing New Under the Sun… Not Even Silly Worship Songs

I saw this on Facebook (thanks, Michael Acidri [because some of us know what proper attribution of sources is]) and liked it- since it nicely summarizes the way worship music has devolved and become theologically empty.

Then, in comments on FB, Karl Hand pointed out that in the Byzantine Church monks would chant ‘Jesus’ for hours on end.  Which is just another reason I’m glad I didn’t take the Eastern (mystical) path.  So even when it comes to silly ‘worship’ songs, there’s nothing new under the sun.

‘Wives, Obey Your Husbands…’

via Ref.ch on FB-

Our Swiss friends translate the Italian caption- «Genug!!! Die Bibel sagt, dass die Ehefrau dem Ehemann gehorchen muss… Darum sage ich dir zum letzten Mal: WO SIND DIE TELLER, DIE ICH ABWASCHEN MUSS?»

[Enough!!!  The Bible says that the wife must obey her husband, so I’m telling you for the last time- WHERE ARE THE DISHES I HAVE TO WASH?]  (chuckle).

The Refo500 Academic Studies Series

Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht are the publishers of this exciting new series.  8 Volumes are presently planned and in production, a few even having already appeared.