Daily Archives: 9 Jul 2012

Tracking the Tombs of the Taliban, Oh Sorry, the Maccabeans…

Pretty much the same thing though, given the fact that the Maccabeans were more than willing to exterminate their theological foes in exactly the same way as the Taliban are at present.  Anyway, those ancient Taliban (oh shoot, I just keep doing that), I mean Maccabeans were all buried and the Jerusalem Report (a great publication) has the story of the quest for their final resting place…

Few ancient sites in the Holy Land have ignited the imagination like the lost tombs of the Maccabees, the family that led a Jewish rebel army to victory against Seleucid religious repression in the second century BCE.

Beginning more than 140 years ago, travelers, clergymen and enthusiastic scholars of varying levels of religious fervor and competence have been looking for the tomb site – described in contemporary sources as a magnificent Hellenistic monument that included pyramids and ships of carved stone and could be seen by sailors on the Mediterranean Sea, 18 miles away. The complex was one of the greatest man-made landmarks in ancient Judea.

No trace of it has ever been found.

Read Matti’s entire report, it’s really good.

Lazy Students Make Wretched Researchers: And Lazy Profs Make Lazy Students

An analysis of research papers written in first-year composition courses at 15 colleges reveals that many students simply copy chunks of text from the sources they cite without truly grasping the underlying argument, quality or context.

“The findings are not happy news for how writing is taught,” Rebecca Moore Howard, an associate professor of writing and rhetoric at Syracuse University, said here Thursday at the annual meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication. “[Students] are not selecting authoritative, meaningful sources and not reading them carefully. They are not, in a word, engaging.”

Howard’s presentation — with her co-principal researcher, Sandra Jamieson, professor of English, director of composition and department chair at Drew University — of the initial findings of the Citation Project could carry broad implications for how writing is taught at the college level, not just in composition courses, but across disciplines.

But really who does this surprise?  They’ve been told, many of them have, that Wikipedia is a legitimate research tool and if Wikipedia is anything at all it’s skimmed dreck.  They’ve also, many of them, been taught to be lazy and taught to regurgitate ‘for the test’.  Small wonder that thinking isn’t really a skill they’re developing.  Or thoroughness.

Finally the root of the problem lies in the fact that too many academics are more concerned with their own careers than they are with teaching.  Thereby setting the example for students that higher ed really isn’t about learning, it’s about getting by just so one can get ahead.

And – ironically- it’s all legitimized by ‘accreditation’.  Now how’s that for a scream?

The Miracle of Monday: Or, Proof of the Existence of God

Sometimes our angry atheists insist on the non-existence of God (evidently having failed miserably logic 101 where we all learned that a negative cannot be proven) but I have proof beyond any reasonable or sensible doubt that God does exist.  It’s the Miracle of Monday.

You see, beloved reader (and the several of you only loved by your mother, if even by them), every single Sunday there are reams and loads and bucketfull’s of Christian people who are laid up on the bed of infirmity.  They aren’t able to utter any more than these three words, and them only through strained and strangled terminally ill voices: “I’m not going.”  Of course where they aren’t going is off to worship.

But here’s where the miracle happens:  those same virtually terminally ill are miraculously and amazingly healed on Monday morning!  Hallelujah!  Freed from their terrible infirmity of a mere 24 hours previously (and usually quite sooner, usually in fact around 12:30 p.m. on Sunday itself) they are able to go to work, go to the park, go to their favorite theater, and pursue all manner of interests which they adore!

It’s a miracle!!!!!!

So what could possibly explain this amazing miraculous turn-around but an all powerful God?  Ergo- God is proven to exist (and to be as generally despised by many who call themselves his people as he is despised by the angry atheists).

Q.E.D. – God Exists.

A New Calvin Volume

The anniversary year 2009 fortunately aroused great interest in the reformer Johannes Calvin (1509–1564). Calvin’s legacy was once again assessed, and a number of significant aspects of his theology were newly discovered and discussed. These discoveries were particularly fruitful for the ecumenical dialogue. Reformed theologians addressed the theology of Calvin on a broad basis. Lutheran and Catholic theologians took an interest in this rediscovery of Calvin by the Reformed and together joined the discussion on pertinent topics.

In 2010 four ecumenical institutions came together to harvest the ecumenical returns of the Calvin year. This resulted in contributions on such diverse topics as justification and sanctification, Christology and understanding of the sacraments, official theology and ecclesiology. The ecumenical potential of the Geneva reformer is considerable.

A timely release given the fact that tomorrow is the anniversary of Calvin’s birth.