Daily Archives: 25 Sep 2012

(Preliminary) Conference Announcement: The Enoch Seminar’s 7th Annual Meeting

Topic: Enoch and the Synoptic Tradition
Chair: Professor Loren Stuckenbruck
Date: July 21-26, 2013
Location: Camaldoli, Italy

If you recall, we sent along a survey a few months ago requesting information on who was planning to participate and attend the 7th Enoch Seminar. Now that we have an official date and location, we ask that those of you who would like to participate in the Seminar in some fashion (offering a paper, responding to a paper, chairing a session, etc.), please confirm your participation by responding to this email. Of, if you did not answer the previous survey and would like to participate, please contact us immediately. Professor Stuckenbruck is in the process of the finalizing the schedule, so it is crucial to let us know very soon how you would like to participate in the Seminar.

The online registration website will be open in November. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Jason Zurawski
Enoch Seminar

Seventh Enoch Seminar (Camaldoli, July 21-26, 2013)

Contact Jason directly if you are interested in participating or even if you wish to learn more.

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Posted by on 25 Sep 2012 in Conferences



Adrian Schenker’s Intelligent and Important Treatment of Leviticus on the Issue of Homosexuality

Back on the 7th of this month a review appeared in RBL which essentially took Adrian Schenker to task for his work in a new volume titled The Bible on the Question of Homosexuality.  I decided I’d read it for myself since I’m disinclined to accept the notion that Schenker somehow missed the boat on the subject.  Here are some observations:

First, Schenker’s treatment of the subject is simultaneously compassionate and intelligent.

Second, he sets the issue in the wider and more appropriate context of life in the family.  He, in other words, rejects the idea, methodologically, that the subject of homosexuality should be viewed as an isolated phenomenon.  For instance he writes

… the prohibition of homosexual relations in Leviticus 18 and 20 is … social, not personal (p. 51).

He continues

Quite unlike today, it seems that the Bible’s concern is not that of the desire of happiness of the individual who is attracted to someone else.  This difference, between a perspective that is especially concerned with community or social interests and a perspective that is more focused on individual needs, can be quite profound (pp. 51-52).

Specifically, in connection with the reason for the book of Leviticus’ setting homosexuality in the category of taboo:

…  sexual attraction between men and women needs to be guided by rules in order to avoid dehumanization and violence in family relations. …  We must repeat: the point of view would be that of the family group and its need to be transparent in its relations between members (pp. 56-57).

Schenker’s careful exegesis of the relevant verses in Lev 18 and 20 guides readers to the conclusion that

Sexuality is dangerous when it gives free rein to sexual impulses in a disorderly fashion (p. 66).

The gist, then, of his argument is that

… these two passages are less concerned with the individual’s pursuit of happiness than with the good of the family (p. 69).

Setting the issue in the framework of wider cultural concerns is Schenker’s positive contribution to what will doubtless be the continuing debate concerning the Bible and homosexuality.  It is a contribution that deserves deeper thought than the dismissive review mentioned previously gives it.

What is homosexuality?  Is it an individual’s concern alone, in isolation, or does it have wider societal implications?  Schenker would suggest that the answer to the latter is yes and the answer to the former is no.  I happen to think that he’s right.

But you owe it to yourself to decide for yourself if you find his argument persuasive.

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Posted by on 25 Sep 2012 in Bible


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Oh Calvin, It’s Impossible Not to Love You

God’s word has sufficient power to destroy the rebellious.  — John Calvin

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Posted by on 25 Sep 2012 in Calvin, Theology


It Happened In Texas, of Course, and Involves a Cat and A Gun

Investigators in Harris County, Texas, are trying to figure out what prompted a woman to shoot her husband in an argument over their cat. The woman, 42-year-old Audrey Deen Miller, is accused of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Investigators with Harris County Precinct 4 say the couple had an argument over the family cat, though there are several cats on the property so it isn’t clear yet which cat sparked the argument.

Good grief.

Investigators say when Miller’s husband threatened to hurt the cat, Miller shot her husband in the stomach.

In Texas, you see, that makes perfect sense.

The husband was taken to Ben Taub Hospital where he had surgery for his wounds and was listed in stable condition. The incident occurred around 7:15 in the morning in a backyard of a quiet suburb northwest of Houston.

Naturally for ABC News the last sentence is the most important…

The cat was not hurt.

Well thank heaven for that, right?

Texas… the heat, the crazies, and the ease with which one can pick up a gun along with a gallon of milk. It’s all the perfect storm of madness.


Posted by on 25 Sep 2012 in bizarre news, Total Depravity


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There Is No Cure for Stupid

This story has been playing on the local news since last night and now the HuffPo has picked it up.  Probably because they think it’s cool.  I think it proves one fact we all should acknowledge: there is no cure for stupid.

A dangerous drinking practice known as “butt chugging” sent a University of Tennessee student to the hospital with severe alcohol poisoning this weekend.  Early Saturday, 20-year-old Alexander P. Broughton of Pi Kappa Alpha was brought to the emergency room and showed a blood-alcohol level thought to be “well over” .4, according to the Kentucky News Sentinel. They believe he ingested the alcohol by butt chugging. Broughton appeared to be “extremely intoxicated and showed signs of physical and possible sexual assault,” a report obtained by the Kentucky News Sentinel states.  Butt chugging was formally known as an alcohol enema. An individual basically “drinks” the fluid into his or her rectum with a tube or hose. The alcohol’s effects come quickly and potently.

Do I feel bad for the kid?  No, not really.  It’s not like he was forced to do it.  It’s not like he didn’t have a chance to get out of dodge.  No, he willingly de-pants-ified himself in front of his frat buds (stupid enough in and of itself) and allowed them to shove a tube up his rectum (again, stupid enough in and of itself) and then he allowed them to poor beer in the tube.

Am I glad he’s alive?  Sure.  Will he do it again? Probably.  There is no cure for stupid.  Nor for total depravity of the sort which would lead someone to think all this was a good idea in the first place.

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Posted by on 25 Sep 2012 in Total Depravity


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Replacement Refs are to Football What Simcha’s Films are to Biblical / Archaeological Studies

Watching this botched call by these wretched refs reminded me how really awful the films shown on Discovery really are.  The real shame is that more people know a bad call in football but they are so unfamiliar with real archaeology and real biblical studies that when a real piece of nonsense is aired, they don’t have a clue how awful it really is.

As in football so too biblical studies: leave the calls to the professionals.


Posted by on 25 Sep 2012 in Dilettante


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More Perversion and Depravity from the Emergent Cult

A ‘church‘ wants to train ‘Jedis’ for Jesus… it seems…

via Bryan Bibb on FB

Psuedo-theology and cultural pandering by the emergent cult again.  Anything for a crowd, right heretics?



Lecture Announcement: The Bible and the Arts

Likewise, from Viv,

On Wednesday Oct 24th, Cheryl Exum will speak on ‘A Role for the Arts in Biblical Studies‘.   This lecture will be held at Sheffield University, as part of the ongoing series celebrating the anniversary of the school. The full programme can be seen at:!/file/65th_Anniversary_Programme_Updated_July_2012.pdf

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Posted by on 25 Sep 2012 in Bible, Conferences


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Sad News: The Death of Robert Davidson

From Viv Rowett, the SOTS memsec-

Sadly, news of the death of Robert Davidson at the weekend has been received. He was Professor of Old Testament at Glasgow University from 1972 to 1991 and Principal of Trinity College from 1982 to 1991. He was Moderator of the General Assembly in 1990. He became a member of SOTS in 1962. Alastair Hunter will be writing an appreciation about him for the Glasgow University website, and it will also be circulated here. We remember him with gratitude, and our sympathy is with his family.

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Posted by on 25 Sep 2012 in obituary


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Wisdom From Oecolampadius: When Pastors Don’t Get Along

In November of 1529 Oecolampadius wrote the Clergy of Muhlhausen, who weren’t getting along-

“We exhort you, and in exhorting you exhort ourselves, to consider well in what a situation the Lord hath placed us; how many look up to us; how many eyes are upon us; what enemies we have; what numbers will reproach us even when we live ever so innocently; how tender the flock is which we are set to keep; and how many dangers on all sides surround us. It is not our own business which we have to conduct, but Christ’s. It is no common business, but such as is of the highest concernment; that which he himself undertook, as the most important.

Let us not underrate the service in which we are engaged. But we do even despise it, if we apply not to it with becoming gravity and purity. Not only do they corrupt the word of God, who intermix with it false doctrines, but they also who admit their own passions into their preaching; and, while they would draw odium upon their brethren, betray the envy which actuates their own minds.

What place can there be for contention where nothing but the glory of Christ is sought in our preaching? Is any man wise? let him first be ‘wise to himself.’ Has he any thing to propose for the profit of the church? let him propose it without prejudice to a brother, who also faithfully labours in the same vineyard: lest, while he unseasonably and improperly sets himself to root up tares, (which yet may not be tares,) he destroy the wheat—not another’s only but his own—or rather neither his nor another man’s, but Christ’s.…

If any thing of human infirmity therefore has crept in among us, we beseech you for Christ’s sake, and for the sake of the service in which we are engaged, and by all that we hold sacred and dear, let us forgive one another, after his example who has forgiven us ten thousand talents: let us hail one another, acknowledge one another, respect one another, as friends and fellow-labourers of Christ: and, if any thing occurs in our preaching which displeases any of us, do not let us presently contradict it before the people, but let us meet together, and examine the scriptures upon it, and consider the arguments on one side and on the other; and let him who is shewn from scripture to have been wrong yield to him who has convinced him, and return thanks for the light he has received.

Where there is a humble heart, a spirit remote from pride; and when a man seeks to consecrate all his attainments to the glory of Christ and not to his own, this will be easy. For the source of envy is pride, which fears lest it should not be sufficiently honoured. He who thinks humbly of himself and honourably of his neighbour will be thankful that Christ should be preached, by whomsoever or on whatsoever occasion it may be.”  —  Johannes Oecolampadius

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Posted by on 25 Sep 2012 in Church History, Oecolampadius


This is Just How I’m Probably Going to Die: A Warning to All- Weddings Are Dangerous

I suppose, in some ways, it’s better than dropping dead at a funeral.  At least the ‘happy couple’ will never forget the day they tried to get married

A fairytale wedding in southern Bavaria at the weekend turned into a nightmare when the pastor dropped dead in front of the happy couple before they could say “I do.”

Let’s face it friends, nothing says ‘don’t do it’ quite like God taking out the Parson before he can marry you. Take a hint. Break up. But they weren’t that discerning…

Grzegorz Wieczorek was reciting a prayer when he stopped mid-sentence and collapsed at the altar, the Münchner Merkur newspaper reported on Tuesday. The 47-year-old hit his head on the stone floor of the St. Lambert church at the Seeon Monastery. Panicked guests ran to try to help him at the front of the church, while organist Andrea Wittmann called an ambulance and found the first-aid kit. “It was like something out a movie,” she told The Local.

Yeah, what movie would that be, pray tell?

Wittmann, who had worked with Wieczorek at religious ceremonies several times over the past year, noticed that something was not quite right. “I got the sense that he wasn’t feeling so well,” she said, remarking that he was visibly sweating, even though the weather was not particularly warm.

I never feel well at weddings. Especially weddings that feature one of those reprehensibly bossy ‘wedding planners’ (a curse on them all).

The bride, from Osnabrück, Lower Saxony and her Italian groom, whom she met at school in Florence, were badly shaken by the pastor’s death. But since many of the nearly 100 guests had travelled a long way to attend the wedding, the couple decided against rescheduling their union, Münchner Merkur reported.

Because Heaven knows you can’t possibly have a little compassion for a dead guy now can you… They were shaken, but not stirred…

A local pastor jumped in to marry the couple at a local church a few hours later. The ceremony was preceded by a prayer for the late pastor.

Not me buddy. Let them go to a justice of the peace and let the plague descend on his house.

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Posted by on 25 Sep 2012 in bizarre news, misery


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Take That Angry Atheists

In some places in this country freedom of religion still exists in spite of your efforts to make atheism the state religion.

A display of the Ten Commandments and other documents made their debut Monday at the Cocke County Courthouse.  A Tennessee court ruling made that possible, classifying the rules of Judeo-Christian tradition as historical documents.  The display includes the Ten Commandments, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence.  The idea to put up the display at the courthouse came from Sheriff Armando Fontes. He says he thought of it about a month ago, soon after the new state law went into effect.  Sheriff Fontes had a small ceremony to unveil the display. A large group filled the second floor lobby where the display is located.

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Posted by on 25 Sep 2012 in War On Atheism



On The Cusp of Yom Kippur…

I want to wish all our Jewish friends a peaceful, reflective, and soul-restoring Yom Kippur.

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Posted by on 25 Sep 2012 in Modern Culture