Daily Archives: 12 Jul 2012

Tolkein’s Son HATES What Has Become of His Father’s Work

A fantastic piece in Le Monde concludes with these sad and profound lines-

“Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed by the absurdity of our time,” Christopher Tolkien observes sadly. “The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has gone too far for me. Such commercialisation has reduced the esthetic and philosophical impact of this creation to nothing. There is only one solution for me: turning my head away.”

Do take the time to read the whole thing.  It sheds great light on Tolkein’s work, and how that work has been misappropriated chiefly by Peter Jackson.  With thanks to Alastair Roberts for pointing it out on G+.

Just Because It’s Incomprehensible to Us…

… Doesn’t mean it is incomprehensible to God.  Calvin remarks

[T]he will of God is neither repugnant to itself, nor subject to change, nor chargeable with pretending to dislike what it approves: but whilst in him it is uniform and simple, it wears to us the appearance of variety; because the weakness of our understanding comprehends not how the same thing may be in different respects both agreeable to his will, and contrary to it.

It’s our weak intellect which confuses things, not God’s purpose or will.   The remarkable (to me) thing about human intellect is how it exaggerates its own abilities.   And those given to the harshest attitude towards faith are usually the very folk who think far too highly of their own minds.  Meanwhile, they’re incapable (!) of noticing the folly of that self-aggrandizing attitude.

Where In the World is Chris Tilling Now?

He’s taken a break from the drudgery of academia to engage in some healthy physical labor. But he just can’t keep himself out of trouble, even doing that… poor kid. Poor neighbors!

A Knox County Battersea man was arrested Wednesday after he was seen naked working in his yard.  Knox County sheriff’s deputy Scott Ritch says he saw Lindsay Medd Stevens Chris Satan Tilling standing completely nude in his yard on Windwhisper Boulevard.  The officer says when he arrived at the house Stevens Tilling was cutting a tree.  When Stevens Tilling saw the officer, the crime report says, Stevens  Tilling ran inside his house.  A neighbor had called the sheriff’s office to complain about Stevens Tilling, who reportedly had been seen naked in his yard by neighbors several times in the past.

Two words- eewww–wwwww

J. Christian Bach

Sad News: The Death of Itzhaq Beit-Arieh

Via Jack Sasson-

It is with great sadness that the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University announces the passing of its long-time colleague and friend, Professor Emeritus Itzhaq Beit-Arieh. The funeral will take place tomorrow, Friday, July 13, at 11 a.m at the Kiriat Shaul Cemetery, Tel Aviv, in the section for bereaved parents. Shiva will be at the home of his daughter…. We bow our heads in memory of the man who was our teacher, friend, archaeologist par excellence and dear person.

We join our friends at Tel Aviv in mourning the loss of their friend and colleague.  May he rest in peace.

Good? Are You Kidding?

Apart from Christ none are good. Not in the truest sense of the word. As Zwingli points out

Thus Christ speaks to the young man who called him good, in order to do him eye-service: “God alone is good.” If he alone is good, without doubt no good fruit can come from any source except from the tree which alone is good.

If you’re really a ‘good person’ you are so because Christ’s goodness is imputed to you; goodness is as much your own choice and deed as your DNA.

Can You Identify a Genizah Fragment?

Does anyone recognise the ‘alama אור וישע? This fragment, T-S 16.386 (formerly T-S NS J434) was miscatalogued, thanks to an uncharacteristic numbering error by Goitein, as by Solomon b. Elijah, but it’s obviously several centuries earlier (it’s dated 982 CE, in fact). In addition, the hand, the width of the paper and the practice of dating at the end of a letter (unusual) point to a Babylonian Gaon, Nasi or someone of similar worth from Iraq. Who uses this motto ‘light and salvation’?

If you can help, go to their Facebook page and comment.

Opening the Books of Moses

I wasn’t aware of this new volume till today:  Opening the Books of Moses– by Diana V. Edelman, Philip R. Davies, Christophe Nihan, and Thomas Römer

Opening the Books of Moses presents an introduction to the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. It is written for any student engaged in the scholarly study of these most important of biblical texts. The aim throughout is to examine the books with a view to illuminating the ideas, beliefs and experiences of the time. The book presents a broad overview, which provides a survey of the current state of Pentateuchal research; an analysis of how the texts were shaped by their time and audience; an outline of Jewish areas in the Persian period; and an examination of key concerns and topics, notably the Torah, geography, ethnicity, Yahweh and other deities, theories of cult, treaties and oaths, and Moses. The book is the first volume in a six volume collection within the BibleWorld series that will explore in detail each of the individual books of the Pentateuch in turn. This first volume sets the stage as serves as a general introduction.

I’m keen to read it!

Penn State: Higher-Ups There Did Nothing But Facilitate Sandusky’s Evil

Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno and other senior Penn State officials “concealed critical facts” about Jerry Sandusky’s child abuse because they were worried about bad publicity, according to an internal investigation into the scandal.

The 267-page report released Thursday is the result of an eight-month inquiry by former FBI director Louis Freeh, hired by university trustees weeks after Sandusky was arrested in November to look into what has become one of sports’ biggest scandals.

The report concluded that Paterno, president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz “failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade.”

“In order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at the university — Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley — repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse,” the report said.

That’s disgusting.  They cared more about their reputation than about the children Sandusky was molesting- for years!  In covering up for the vile miscreant, they helped him.  Sandusky wasn’t alone in raping those boys, Penn State raped them too.  Everyone connected to the case, everyone who turned a blind eye, everyone who permitted this behavior of Sandusky’s is a criminal.  A rapist.

New From TVZ

A very fine resource indeed!  Especially if you’re looking for materials for your young people.

It’s The Anniversary of Ernst Käsemann’s Birth

On 12 July, 1906 the inestimable E.Käsemann was born.  He wrote a lot!  A LOT!  He was productive, and brilliant, and gifted, and personable, and warm, and generous with his time, and conversational, and of course, controversial.

Käsemann was – as all should know – the (yes, the, not simply ‘a’) student of Rudolf Bultmann.  But in good German fashion he broke with his teacher over several issues, most noticeably on the question of the historical Jesus.

He also grew ever more annoyed about the state of New Testament scholarship and the influence of ‘fad’ methodologies and he really, really let fly in one of his last essays published in Evangelische Theologie (2/92) in an essay simply titled ‘Protest!’ (concerned chiefly with an earlier essay by Seim on Jewish exegesis of the New Testament).

In his remembrance Wille notes that K. also endured his fair share of tragedy-

Von Politik, von Gewaltpolitik war er und seine Familie ganz persönlich betroffen: 1977 wurde seine einzige Tochter Elisabeth von der argentinischen Militärjunta ermordet. Die politischen, auch die persönlich leidvollen Erfahrungen seines Lebens haben in seinem theologischen Denken Spuren hinterlassen. Das macht seine Theologie unverwechselbar und  glaubwürdig.  Am 17. Februar 1998 ist Ernst Käsemann gestorben. Seine Theologie war anstößig  – anstößig um der Wahrheit, der heilsamen Wahrheit des Evangeliums willen. So zeigt sie bis heute noch Wirkung.

Truly, K’s work was and is “unverwechselbar und  glaubwürdig”.

I had the privilege of corresponding with the great man shortly before his death.  Unfortunately the only letter I’ve been able to find from his is this one, his last to me:

A Picture is Worth 1000 Words

via WATE TV 6 on FB

The Mocking Mom

File this one under ‘huh???’

A German court made a woman pay her daughter €600 in damages after she put photos of her daughter in a bikini on the internet – complete with mocking comments underneath, a radio station reported on Wednesday. The woman, who lived in Baden-Württemberg, was charged with copyright violation after she published unflattering pictures of her bikini-clad daughter on Facebook, regional broadcaster Südwestrundfunk (SWR) said.

Despite claiming not to properly understand how the social networking site worked, she gave her 24-year-old daughter a fake name and added offensive comments about her weight. But when the daughter heard from her friends about the pictures, she decided to take her mother to the Bonndorf regional court, who ordered that they were to be removed and that the daughter be awarded damages.

That’s just not at all nice.  Bad mom, very bad.