Daily Archives: 4 Jun 2012

The Big Bad Mean Vatican v. The Tiny Little Helpless Nun…

That, at least, is how the HuffPo wishes things to be perceived in the most recent debate between the Vatican and one of its own.  Once more the HuffPo is playing to the angry anti-Catholic pro Gay crowd with a piece designed to do nothing more than provoke contempt.

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Fr...

The Vatican on Monday sharply criticized a book on sexuality written by a prominent American nun, saying it contradicted church teaching on issues like masturbation, homosexuality and marriage and that its author had a “defective understanding” of Catholic theology.  The Vatican’s orthodoxy office said the book, “Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics” by Sister Margaret Farley, a member of the Sisters of Mercy religious order and emeritus professor of Christian ethics at Yale Divinity School, posed “grave harm” to the faithful.  The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said that in the 2006 book, Farley either ignored church teaching on core issues of human sexuality or treated it as merely one opinion among many.

This discussion is between the Vatican and the nun.  The Vatican can rid itself of persons it deems troublemakers and schismatics.  It’s been doing it for ages.  And if the nun in question disagrees with the Vatican nothing and no one is forcing her to stay within the Holy Roman fold.  If she no longer wishes to bow the knee to Rome, she needn’t.

Scholars You Should Know: Peter Opitz

My continuing series on scholars you should know heads in a bit of a different direction this week, away from the biblical studies camp to the Church History lot. And few have done better church history than Peter Opitz of the University of Zurich.  There he is the Professor für Kirchen- und Dogmengeschichte von der Reformationszeit bis zur Gegenwart.

Peter’s expertise centers on the Reformation and in particular the leading personages of that era and their theologies. He has published some very, very important volumes and essays on the history of the Church which deserve a quite wide readership. One of the more impressive, I maintain, is his fantastic book on John Calvin which just appeared in the not too distant past.

Also not to be missed is his very fine exposition of the theology of Heinrich Bullinger

Die Studie versucht, von diesen «Dekaden» aus einen Zugang zu Bullingers Denken in seinem zeitgenössischen Kontext zu gewinnen. Über das gemeinhin von ihm gezeichnete Bild als Vater der Bundestheologie und als treuer Sachwalter des Zwinglischen Erbes hinaus wird dabei ein eigenständiges theologisches Profil sichtbar, welches sich aus verschiedenen, Wittenberger, Basler, Zürcher, und insbesondere auch altkirchlichen Wurzeln nährt, und dem – im anbrechenden «konfessionellen Zeitalter» – ein «oekumenischer» Zug eignet.

Peter Opitz is a scholar you should know.

Luther: On Being Outspoken

I know hill well that I have been very outspoken. I have made many suggestions that will be considered impractical. I have attacked many things too severely. But how else ought I to do it? I am duty-bound to speak. If I had the power, these are the things I would do. I would rather have the wrath of the world upon me than the wrath of God. The world can do no more to me than take my life. In the past I have made frequent overtures of peace to my enemies, but as I see it, God has compelled me through them to keep on opening my mouth wider and wider and to give them enough to say, bark, shout, and write because they have nothing else to do. — Martin Luther

Luther: On Lawyers

“We theologians have no worse enemies than the lawyers. If one asks, ‘What is the church?’ they answer, ‘It’s an assembly of bishops, abbots, etc., and those are properties of the church; therefore they belong to the bishops.’ This is their logic. No, we have a different logic at the right hand of the Father, and this says that they are tyrants, wolves, and robbers. Consequently we condemn all the lawyers on this score, even the godly ones, because they don’t know what the church is. Even if they pore over all their books, they won’t discover what the church is. Accordingly they shouldn’t try to reform us here. Every lawyer is either a good-for-nothing or a know-nothing. If a lawyer wants to dispute this, tell him, ‘You hear? A lawyer shouldn’t talk until a sow breaks wind’ Then he should say, ‘Thank you, dear grandmother, I haven’t heard a sermon for a long time!’ They shouldn’t teach us what ‘church’ means. There’s an old proverb: ‘A lawyer’s a bad Christian.’ And it’s true.” — Martin Luther

Signs of the Times

Via Athalya Brenner on the FB-

Conversation/Quote of the Century

Leigh Anne Watts:  ‘Joel, did you see what Jim had on his blog this morning?  It was so funny’

Joel Watts: ‘Not yet’.  ‘Have you looked at my blog today?’

Leigh Anne Watts: ‘Um, no….’


Archaeological investigations and OSL dating of terraces at Ramat Rahel, Israel

From Oded Lipschits this happy word-

The paper was just published in: Journal of Field Archaeology 37/ 3 (2012): 192-208.

Here’s the paper abstract:

Dating terraces, the most prominent feature of the agricultural landscape in many parts of the world, is a problem for archaeologists. This study presents an interdisciplinary approach that combines archaeological survey and excavations with direct sediment dating of terrace fill using Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL). The study focuses on Ramat Rahel, a multi-period site located in the southern outskirts of modern Jerusalem, Israel, where, on a defined terraced slope chosen for a small-scale landscape archaeology project, three main phases of terrace construction and use were identified. The earliest phase dates to the Late Byzantine/Early Islamic period, the second to medieval times, and the last to the Ottoman period. The results enable a comprehensive reconstruction of the changing local landscape through time and demonstrate the validity of OSL, when combined with archaeological investigations, as a reliable method for terrace dating.

The fieldwork was conducted as part of the 2009 season of excavations at Ramat Rahel, and I wish to thank Prof. M. Oeming of Heidelberg University, the co-director of the expedition, for his continuous support of the research. This research was supported by an Early Israel grant (New Horizons project), Tel Aviv University.

A New, Nifty, Awesome Video from the IAA: The Past is Yet to Come

You’ll want to watch this one.

How To Have A Blog People Will Read

Sometimes folk ask me ‘how can I have an awesome blog like yours?’

It’s really amazingly simple.

1-Be witty.
2-Be humorous.
3- Be relevant.
4- Be scripturally engaged.
5- Be theologically astute.

If you are willing to be those 5 things you’ll discover that someone besides your family (let’s face it, because they don’t want you to feel bad) or your students (because, let’s face it, they’re just doing it to brown nose you) will indeed read your blog. Daily. And if for some reason you don’t post for a day or two they will actually notice,and care!