Simcha Goes to North Korea!

indigosea2cArchaeologists in North Korea have apparently discovered a mythical unicorn lair belonging to an ancient king, according to a highly dubious report from the state news agency. The quite unbelievable claim of the discovery of the unicorn lair belonging to King Tongmyong, founder of the ancient Korean kingdom Koguryo was made by the History Institute of the DPRK Academy of Social Sciences. The lair was apparently found 220 yards fro a temple in the capital, Pyongyang. “A rectangular rock carved with words “Unicorn Lair” stands in front of the lair. The carved words are believed to date back to the period of Koryo Kingdom (918-1392),” the report said. “The temple served as a relief palace for King Tongmyong, in which there is the lair of his unicorn.”

How awesome is that!  Look for a report in BAR in the next few weeks.

Why Is It Easier to Doubt than Believe; to Fear than to Trust?

lutherA question was proposed by Master Ignatius, a student of sacred literature, on the day before the Kalentis of December, 1532 (i.e., November 30): Why do we more readily believe Satan when he terrifies than Christ when he consoles?

The question was answered by Dr. Martin Luther: “Because we are better equipped to doubt than to hope; because hope comes from the Spirit of God but despair comes from our own spirit. Accordingly God has forbidden it [despair] under severe penalty. That we more easily believe penalty than reward is a product of the reason or spirit of man.

Hoping and believing are different from thinking and speculating. Reason sees death before it, and it’s impossible for reason not to be terrified by it. Likewise we can’t be persuaded [by our reason] that God gives his Son and loves us so much, and hence we say, ‘You have not allowed your Son to be crucified for nothing!’ This is above reason. That God is so merciful, not on account of my works but on account of his Son, is incomprehensible.*

Luther’s works, vol. 54: Table Talk (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.) (59–60).

Michael Heiser Contra the Dilettantes: Or, How Things In Ignorance Land Never Change

Another term, another round of biblical ignorance.

I was treated this morning to an email that asked my opinion of this link. Another pseudo-Bible “student” passing around the idea that the Bible names Barack Obama as the Antichrist. This monument to interpretive incoherence was the result of a viral YouTube video (and where else would we look for sound biblical scholarship than YouTube?) that first surfaced back in 2009. I blogged about it here on PaleoBabble. I’d invite new readers to have a look and then decide if they should laugh or cry.

Let me add one footnote to this tale of biblical illiteracy. Back in 2009 this “story” was birthed by World Net Daily (WND). Here is where that story lives. To their credit, WND published my rebuttal. However, that can only be found with Google or some other search engine. That is, WND buried it. Check out the original WND story link above — you won’t find my rebuttal linked on the story page (at least at the time of this post!), so WND readers would never know the whole idea is hermeneutical garbage.


One day soon Michael may experience that dilettante of all dilettantes, Little Honey Tee Tee.  It will be a glorious day.

On The Anniversary of Otto Kaiser’s Birth Old Testament scholar Otto Kaiser was born on November 30th, 1924.   A Bultmannian, Kaiser’s many volumes are articulate and insightful.  His most important work, in my estimation, is Der Gott des Alten Testaments. Theologie des Alten Testaments in 3 vols.

He’s a fine exegete and his commentaries are some of the best.

He was celebrated on his 80th birthday in 2004, and rightly so.

Bibi’s Unbounded Evil

Bibi Netanyahu has approved 3000 additional housing units in the Palestinian territories in response to the vote of the United Nations.  And he wonders why Israel is isolated.  It’s a no-brainer Bibi- the vast majority of the world’s population thinks you’re a prat and your policies are immoral.

Israel is to build 3,000 new settler homes in east Jerusalem and the West Bank after the Palestinians won recognition as a non-member state at the United Nations, an Israeli official told AFP on Friday.

Asked if he could confirm a report that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had decided tp build the 3,000 units in response to the Palestinians success at the UN, he said: “It’s true — in (east) Jerusalem and the West Bank,” without saying exactly where.

The decision was revealed in a tweet by the diplomatic correspondent of Haaretz newspaper, who said some of the homes would be built in E1, a highly-contentious area of the West Bank which links annexed east Jerusalem with Maaleh Adumim settlement.

Bibi is a spoiled evil child who retaliates when he doesn’t get his way.  Israelis voting for him vote for hatred.

Conference Announcement: The Bible on TV

King’s College, London, is hosting The Bible on TV.

Location: Great Hall King’s Building Strand Campus
Category: Conference
When: 11/12/2012 (10:00-16:30)
Contact: Organised by Dr Edward Adams (Senior Lecturer in New Testament Studies). Please contact Mr Matthew Claridge via Hosted by the Department of Theology & Religious Studies, in association with CTVC.

The past few years have witnessed renewed TV interest in the Bible, with series and programmes such as, The Bible: A History, The Story of Jesus, and Bible’s Buried Secrets. This major conference brings together high profile media professionals and academics to explore the use of the Bible on TV, and the role of TV in shaping the cultural impact of the Bible.

Then follows the schedule. Londoners, check it out. Via Francesca S. on the twitter.

Alban Books at SOTS Winter Meeting

From Elaine Reid-

Alban Books will have a book display at the forthcoming SOTS Winter Meeting in Cambridge this January. If there are any of our books, which you can view at our new website, that you would like us to bring with us please just let me know and I’ll add them to my list.

Many thanks,

Elaine Reid
Alban Books

Elad and The Manipulation of Facts in Silwan

An interesting essay today over on Art Info which contains this usefully instructive paragraph which so nicely encapsulates what Elad is all about:

A 2006 report by Ir Amim, a left-wing advocacy group focused on Jerusalem, described one instance in which Dr. Eilat Mazar, an archaeologist working at a dig funded by Elad, claimed to have found the pipe that David’s warriors traveled through when they conquered the city. This was despite the fact that many scholars — including Ronny Reich, an archaeologist at Haifa University who worked at the same site — were skeptical that David or Solomon had ever been there. On another occasion, Reich uncovered a Byzantine water pit and was instructed by Elad to present it as the cistern of Malkijah, the pit Jeremiah was thrown into by the son of Zedekiah, the king of Judah, according to the Old Testament. For weeks, the attribution was listed on the website and echoed by tour guides, even though Reich himself said that it was “nonsense.”

More scathing:

A Google search of the group’s founder, David Be’eri, leads to multiple stories about the day he passed through Silwan in a silver four-door sedan and was confronted by Palestinian youths throwing stones. He struck two of them with his car and drove off, later claiming he had felt he was in danger and was trying to flee. Though both boys avoided serious injury, the incident was broadcast on Al Jazeera as well as Israeli television, and in numerous clips on YouTube.

It’s hard to imagine how an organization whose leader is best known for running over Palestinian children with his car could invite itself into archaeology, a field in which professionals pride themselve in being almost tediously objective. In recent years, however, Elad has managed to do just that, funding public education projects in Silwan that would make viewers believe that politics was not Elad’s concern.

And then this:

Because of the drama of archaeology in Jerusalem, in addition to the sizable funds it provides for research areas like Silwan, researchers like Reich have frequently found themselves forced to answer difficult questions about cooperating with Elad. Israel Finkelstein, a professor of archaeology at TAU who is involved in the work at Silwan and is described among colleagues as “center-left,” gave a notably guarded answer when I asked him if he had qualms about doing archaeological work in which Elad was involved. “I have always kept distance from politics, so I am not going to answer this question,” he wrote in an email. “My only interest is to better understand archaeology and history. In order to make things clear, let me add that: 1) the Tel Aviv University dig will be carried out as a joint venture with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA); no other body will be involved in the dig; 2) Tel Aviv University and its Institute of Archaeology work according to law.”

I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that if Israel Finkelstein is involved everything done will be on the level.  Even if Elad attempts to exert influence.  Finkelstein is not the sort of person who can be pushed around.  This, I know.

And then this:

Rafael Greenberg, another professor of archaeology at TAU who has stood out for his opposition to the university’s involvement in Silwan, regularly expressed concerns about Elad’s involvement to his colleague Ronny Reich, who, recently, has become the head of the IAA’s archaeological council. “Whenever I told them he was being used by the settlers,” he told ARTINFO, “He’d say, ‘No, I’m using them.’”

Speaking over the phone last week, Greenberg repeated his feelings about Elad’s presence in the area, as well as the public relations concerns of TAU’s involvement. Part of what made him want to speak reporters, as it turned out, was how unconvincing he thought TAU’s message will be to Palestinian Silwanis, whose anxieties about losing their home might overlap with anxieties about being evicted from history. “No amount of spin or declarative sentences saying ‘we’re not being part of it,’ is going to change that, unless they actively dissociate themselves from that project,” he said. “It has to be a completely new concept, in order to carry out an excavation that is not associated with the settlers, with the Israeli view of history.”

Plus loads more which those interested in the subject will surely wish to read. I’ll only suggest, in conclusion, that Elad is agenda driven and that’s as plain as the nose on my face.

Let Me Be Perfectly Clear About This

Since I’ve already gotten a bit of ‘hate mail’ because of the previous post:

1- I love Israel, and I love my Israeli friends.
2- I think the use of terror to harass and torment them by Hamas is evil.
3- But I also love the Palestinians (and most especially our Christian brothers and sisters there).
4- And I think, no, I know they deserve a ‘place of their own’.
5- So I abhor the forcing of Palestinians off their land and into a walled ghetto.
6- Finally, I believe there won’t be peace until the Unites States cares as much about the Palestinians as it does about the Israelis.

These are my views. I will not apologize for them. If you find them disdainful I suggest you go elsewhere, because your missives of contempt won’t change them.

The World Votes in Favor of Peace for the Palestinians and the Israelis…

Except for 9 nations which voted against it:

9 nations voted “no” to #UN Palestine bid: US, Israel, Canada, Czech Rep, Nauru, Palau, Panama, Marshall Islands, Micronesia.

That’s some company you keep, U.S. of A….  We’ve linked arms with Panama and Palau… and worst of all, Canada (which really is inexplicable in its vote, as is the Czech Republic).  But at least the rest of the civilized world doesn’t oppose peace.

So, Something Else to Love About Logos 5

While working with the LXX I discovered something of an anomaly, which I mentioned here.  Rick Brannan read the post and commented-

Ken’s got it right. “LXXALT” represents the alternate versions of texts in Rahlfs; Isaiah has no separate alternate version. The interlinear would be the better choice for a word at present. That, or you could use Swete’s edition of the LXX, but as Ken will tell you Swete’s version (based on Vaticanus, largely, correct?) has some issues compared to Sinaiticus and Rahlfs. I’ll report the issue with word lists and morph tagged texts that have reverse interlinears.

That was 26 November.  On 27 November when I opened Logos it began its auto update and when it was done here’s what had been updated and corrected-

The LXX was updated and corrected in a day! Remarkable.  So, that’s something else to love about Logos 5- swift attention to necessary corrections.

Milligan Beware: A Marriage To Emmanuel Christian Seminary May Result in Muzzled Faculty

Bob Cargill notes

Confirming two items that I’ve mentioned on this blog over the past month (here and here), Emmanuel Christian Seminary President, Dr. Michael Sweeney, confirmed via two separate emails sent to all Emmanuel students the following two items:

  1. Emmanuel is close to signing a $3,000,000 donation from a donor, who has offered the money to be used in debt reduction.
  2. Milligan College has voted to pursue acquiring Emmanuel Christian Seminary, including its assets and debts.

I hope that if the ‘deal goes through’ Milligan realizes that if it retains the current Emmanuel Administration that Administration may attempt to do to Milligan’s what it has done to Christopher Rollston: i.e., muzzle him and threaten dismissal if he doesn’t ‘toe the line’.

Bob continues

These emails from the Emmanuel President all but confirm what many have been saying throughout Emmanuel’s scandalous attempt to dismiss a tenured professor: that Emmanuel’s “very direct answer to prayer” appears to have involved an attempt to terminate Dr. Chris Rollston in exchange for a large donation. There is certainly evidence to support such a claim. Likewise, the letter reveals that Emmanuel Christian Seminary’s financial woes are far greater than many thought; Emmanuel’s present administration appears to have led Emmanuel into such a deep financial hole that discussions of the acquisition of Emmanuel’s debt and remaining assets have been ongoing with Milligan College for some time now. Likewise, President Sweeney explicitly hopes that “the result of this process will be to integrate Emmanuel into Milligan College”. That is, according to an email Emmanuel’s President sent to its students, Emmanuel wants Milligan to assume control. Thus, we’re past the point of if it’s going to happen, but we are now talking about when.

Shameful really- the whole sorry absurd episode is just a blotch on academia in general and the institution called Emmanuel Christian Seminary in particular.

I recall that years back I defended the Church of Christ when it was attacked as a cult.  But maybe I was too hasty.  Emmanuel certainly wishes to exert the same kind of mind control one finds in a cult.  And evidently has ‘deep pockets’ (perhaps it’s the Koch Brothers looking for a new hobby horse to ride since their Romney steed fell to pasture) willing to underwrite its disturbingly manipulative ways, just like a cult.

Bob has more. Give it a look.

Emidio Campi’s Obituary of Alfred Schindler

With heartfelt thanks to Prof. Campi for sending along this newly revised edition:

Nachruf Alfred Schindler (31. Dezember 1934 – 19. November 2012)

Prof. Dr. Alfred Schindler verstarb im 78. Altersjahr.

Alfred Schindler, ein international anerkannter Augustin-Spezialist, der sich auch um die Erschliessung der Zürcher Reformation verdient gemacht hat.

Alfred Schindler wurde am 31. Dezember 1934 als Spross einer Familie geboren, die hervorragende Juristen hervorbrachte. Er selbst studierte Theologie in Zürich, Basel, Heidelberg und Rom. 1963 promovierte er an der Universität Zürich, 1965 erfolgte die Habilitation für das Gebiet der Kirchen- und Dogmengeschichte und 1966 die Ernennung zum Extraordinarius. Die folgenden rund dreissig Jahre seiner Aktivität als Hochschullehrer lassen sich gleichmässig in drei Lebensstationen aufteilen: 1970 erhielt er einen Ruf als Ordinarius für Alte Kirchengeschichte an die Ruprecht-Karls-Universität zu Heidelberg. Von 1979 bis 1990 wirkte er als ordentlicher Professor an der Universität Bern. 1990 kehrte er als Ordinarius an die Universität Zürich zurück und übernahm zugleich die Leitung des Instituts für Schweizerische Reformationsgeschichte. Im Jahre 2000 wurde er emeritiert.

Alfred Schindler war ein Forscher von einmaliger Brillianz und ein begnadeter Lehrer. Er war bereits in frühen Jahren ein international anerkannter Augustin-Spezialist. Mitte der 1970er Jahre erarbeitete er in Kooperation mit anderen Fachgelehrten die Konzeption des Augustinus-Lexikons, als dessen Mitherausgeber er zeitlebens fungierte. Dieses auf fünf Textbände konzipierte Begriffs- und Reallexikon wird von Forschenden in aller Welt verfasst und nach dem Start unter der Ägide der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft seit 1990 als Langzeitprojekt von der Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur Mainz betreut. Neben zahlreichen Beiträgen für das Lexikon, welche ob der interdisziplinären Bündelung der speziellen Kompetenzen der Fächer Alte Geschichte, Theologie, Klassische Philologie und Patristik beeindrucken, verfasste er für die traditionsreiche Theologische Realenzyklopädie den Artikel «Augustin», der im Grunde einer Monographie gleicht und einen ungewöhnlichen Einfluss auf die Forschung bis heute ausübt.

Mit gleichem Talent und ebensolcher Gründlichkeit veröffentlichte Alfred Schindler in späteren Jahren grundlegende Arbeiten auf dem Gebiet der Rezeption der Kirchenväter im Mittelalter und in der Reformationszeit. 1984 begann er mit der Studie «Zwingli und die Kirchenväter», einer vielbeachteten Untersuchung der theologischen Tradition, die den Zürcher Reformator prägte. Seit 1991 tagte in mehrjährigen Abständen eine internationale Forschergruppe mit Vertretern verschiedener Disziplinen, die sich mit der Aufnahme altkirchlicher Autoritäten in die Schriften des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts beschäftigte. Diese Tagungen wurden in der von ihm mit herausgegebenen Reihe Auctoritas Patrum dokumentiert, die ein unentbehrliches Instrument für die Forschung darstellt.

Als bewanderter Polyhistor hat sich Alfred Schindler um die Erschliessung der Zürcher Reformation in höchstem Masse und auf eine ganz spezielle Weise verdient gemacht. Auf seine Initiative sind bahnbrechende Projekte entstanden, zum Beispiel der Plan einer Neuausgabe sämtlicher Randglossen Zwinglis zu den von ihm gelesenen Büchern, die Bereitstellung der Werke Huldrych Zwinglis in elektronischer Form, die kritische Edition der «Akten der Badener Disputation von 1526» und die Edition der Werke von Johann Kaspar Lavater. Naturgemäss handelt es sich um langfristige Projekte, die in einem Forscherleben nicht vollendet werden können. Es ist jedoch erfreulich, dass weiterhin daran gearbeitet wird. Neben diesen wissenschaftlichen Aufgaben hat ihn sein konziliantes, besonnenes Auftreten nahezu prädestiniert, die Institutionen der Zürcher Reformationsgeschichte auf Kurs zu halten und zu fördern. Exemplarisch seien genannt: die langjährige Redaktion der Zeitschrift «Zwingliana», die Mitarbeit im Vorstand des Zwinglivereins und des schweizerdeutschen Wörterbuchs Idiotikon.

In der Lehre deckte Alfred Schindler das ganze Spektrum der Kirchengeschichte ab und konzentrierte sich dabei insbesondere auf die Alte Kirche und das Mittelalter. Seine Vorlesungen und Seminare waren klar und anschaulich; die Studierenden schätzten vor allem die zugriffige Art und Weise, in der er minutiös Texte auslegte oder umgekehrt komplexe historische Zusammenhänge transparent machte. Nicht unerwähnt sollen die von ihm ins Leben gerufene Zürcher Kirchengeschichtliche Sozietät und die Vier- bzw. Fünfstädte-Sozietät bleiben, in der Doktorierende sich kennenlernen und Erfahrungen austauschen können.

Ebenso wie als Wissenschaftler beeindruckte Alfred Schindler als Mensch. Er strebte in der Forschung den Perfektionismus an. In der Lehre lag ihm die Förderung der engagierten und kritischen Funktion der Theologie im Leben der Kirche am Herzen. Zudem war er an Literatur, Musik und Kunst interessiert. Er war ein Meister des Gesprächs, des Humors, des Understatements wie auch der Ironie. Intellektuelle Kraft und Gefühle wirkten bei ihm zusammen. Im täglichen Umgang mit ihm konnte man einen Menschen erleben, dem bei allem Stolz auf das in der Wissenschaft Erreichte persönliche Eitelkeit völlig fremd war. Sein bescheidenes und gleichwohl vornehmes Auftreten gewann ihm die Herzen aller, die mit ihm zu tun hatten. In seiner liebenswürdigen menschlichen Art und mit seinem umfassenden Wissen war er eine Quelle der Inspiration für alle, die ihn als Lehrer oder Kollegen kannten. Diese Haltung gehörte mit zum Dienst, den Alfred Schindler für die Wissenschaft und für die Kirche leistete.

Emidio Campi

Are You In Bergamo, Italy? If So, Or Nearby, Heads Up

This lecture series concludes Saturday with the inestimable Emidio Campi holding forth on Heinrich Bullinger:

La Riforma nella città di Zurigo
Huldrych Zwingli, Pier Martire Vermigli, Heinrich Bullinger
novembre – dicembre 2012

Zurigo, la principale città svizzera, conta 385.000 abitanti. È considerata una delle città più tolleranti e libere d’Europa. Nei momenti più drammatici della storia di molti paesi, è stata terra d’asilo per perseguitati politici, socialisti e anarchici, antifascisti e antinazisti. Nel Novecento vi sono fiorite avanguardie artistiche. Ancora oggi è un laboratorio di cultura, di arte, di ricerca scientifica. …

sabato 1 dicembre 2012
Emidio Campi
Heinrich Bullinger, il pastore

tutti gli incontri si terranno presso la sede di via Tasso con inizio alle 17,30

Get thee to it!

And the letters keep coming. Meanwhile, Emmanuel is strangely, oddly, inappropriately quiet and apparently wish to leave Chris Rollston in limbo. What could be worse?

XKV8R: The Official Blog of Robert R. Cargill, Ph.D.

I received the following letter from Dr. Ronald Hendel at the University of California, Berkeley, which I am posting below. I have added Dr. Hendel’s letter to Dr. Rollston’s list of public supporters here.

Dear President Sweeney and Dean Holland,

I join my colleagues in attesting to the superb scholarship of Prof. Chris Rollston.  He brings credit to your seminary.  His views expressed in a column in the Huffington Post ought not to be a concern to an accredited institution of higher learning.  Infringement of this principle would be a very serious matter to accrediting institutions, the AAUP, and the membership of the SBL.


Ronald Hendel

Norma and Sam Dabby Professor of Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies

University of California, Berkeley

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