Daily Archives: 27 Nov 2012

The Scathing Email Nick Crewes Sent His Children

This. Is. A. Doosey.  After reading it I can only thank God that my daughter has never disappointed me once.  I couldn’t be prouder of the person she is- a person much better than me.

Here are snippets…

Dear All Three

With last evening’s crop of whinges and tidings of more rotten news for which you seem to treat your mother like a cess-pit, I feel it is time to come off my perch.

It is obvious that none of you has the faintest notion of the bitter disappointment each of you has in your own way dished out to us. We are seeing the miserable death throes of the fourth of your collective marriages at the same time we see the advent of a fifth….

Fulfilling careers based on your educations would have helped — but as yet none of you is what I would confidently term properly self-supporting. Which of you, with or without a spouse, can support your families, finance your home and provide a pension for your old age? Each of you is well able to earn a comfortable living and provide for your children, yet each of you has contrived to avoid even moderate achievement. Far from your children being able to rely on your provision, they are faced with needing to survive their introduction to life with you as parents. …

I can now tell you that I for one, and I sense Mum feels the same, have had enough of being forced to live through the never-ending bad dream of our children’s underachievement and domestic ineptitudes. I want to hear no more from any of you until, if you feel inclined, you have a success or an achievement or a REALISTIC plan for the support and happiness of your children to tell me about. I don’t want to see your mother burdened any more with your miserable woes — it’s not as if any of the advice she strives to give you has ever been listened to with good grace — far less acted upon. So I ask you to spare her further unhappiness. If you think I have been unfair in what I have said, by all means try to persuade me to change my mind. But you won’t do it by simply whingeing and saying you don’t like it. You’ll have to come up with meaty reasons to demolish my points and build a case for yourself. If that isn’t possible, or you simply can’t be bothered, then I rest my case.

I am bitterly, bitterly disappointed.

They sound utterly selfish.  They sound like a lot of kids these days.  Sadly.

Osteenism: The Heresy of the Day

Life isn’t about YOU.  It’s about YOU glorifying God.  Feckless heretic and pseudo-Christian, draping himself in the language of faith but teaching nothing but new age Oprah Winfrey-ism.

Our Colloquium With Avraham Faust is Upon Us

Beginning Sunday, on the Biblical Studies List, Avraham Faust will join us for a colloquium scheduled for December 2-10. His book, recently published, Judah in the Neo-Babylonian Period, is available from SBL.  There’s still time to join the list so that you can take part in the discussion if you would like to.  This will serve as the final reminder.  Do join us and take part in what will doubtless be a stimulating exchange.

The Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E. was a watershed event in the history of Judah, the end of the monarchy and the beginning of the exilic period, during which many of the biblical texts were probably written. The conquest left clear archaeological marks on many sites in Judah, including Jerusalem, and the Bible records it as a traumatic event for the population. Less clear is the situation in Judah following the conquest, that is, in the sixth century, a period with archaeological remains the nature and significance of which are disputed. The traditional view is that the land was decimated and the population devastated. In the last two decades, scholars arguing that the land was not empty and that the exile had little impact on Judah’s rural sector have challenged this view. This volume examines the archaeological reality of Judah in the sixth century in order to shed new light on the debate. By expanding research into new avenues and examining new data, as well as by applying new methods to older data, the author arrives at fresh insights that support the traditional view of sixth-century Judah as a land whose population, both urban and rural, was devastated and whose recovery took centuries.

You can read the introduction here.

More ‘Mayan Apocalypse’ Nutbaggery: The ‘Noah’s Ark’ Edition

First, there won’t be any ‘apocalypse’ according to some putative reading of some old South American calendar.  I promise.  And second, if the world were going to end in 2012 God would have been merciful enough to do it BEFORE the final installment of that garbage series known as ‘Twilight’ premiered.  Plus, your boat is junk.  One mild little wave and you’ll be in the drink.

So, dude in China, you’re all worked up for nothing.  Chill out.  Relax.  Go to South Korea and visit Little Honey Tee Tee.  He’s actually CRAZIER than you are and you’ll feel a whole lot better about yourself.

Worried about the impending 2012 “Mayan apocalypse,” a man in China has reportedly spent his life savings on the construction of his very own “Noah’s Ark.”  According to China News Service, Lu Zhenghai, from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwest China, has already spent about $160,000 on the boat. The vessel, designed by Lu himself, measures about 65 feet in length and will, when completed, weigh about 80 tons, the report states.

Nutbaggery.

Jesus and the Twelve

via Reformierte Info

Another Church That’s Lost the Plot: ἀνάθεμα ἔστω

Churches are always looking for new ways to reach out to people—especially men. Some houses of worship across the U.S. have ostensibly found the answer: Offer concealed-carry weapons training. The Daily has the details:

In an effort to increase membership, a number of U.S. churches — including the Church of Christ congregation in this rural village 30 miles north of Columbus — are offering an unconventional public service: Concealed weapons training.

“Church has done a good job with coffee klatsches or whatever, but we haven’t really reached out to guys,” said Jeff Copley, a preacher at the church. “And guys in Morrow Country, they shoot and they hunt.”

Hundreds of students have enrolled in the 10-hour course, which meets the state requirements for earning a concealed weapons permit. The training includes two hours on a church member’s private shooting range.

“I grew up going to church, but hadn’t attended in a number of years,” said David Freeman, 52, a local engineering manager who attended a firearm safety class at the church. “Always considered myself a Christian. I came for the gun classes and have been coming back for two years.”

The Marengo church launched its program several years ago and was likely among the first in the country to offer concealed weapons training. But from Texas to North Carolina, a smattering of congregations have recently followed suit, as ministers seek to capitalize on local enthusiasm for gun culture and demand for carry permit classes to expand their flocks.

Anything to get them in the doors, right?  Even if it means that the means have NOTHING to do with Christian faith or practice.  Here we have, yet again, another example of a Christianity bereft of purpose and adrift in a moral swamp where no theologians dwell and no one familiar with the Bible raises their voice.  Where a Scripture ripped from context serves as the justification of a behavior simply aimed to puff the crowd.

What immorality.  When the Gospel is cheapened in this way, it is denounced.  The purveyors of this behavior are, in the words of Paul to the Galatians, ‘preaching another Gospel’.  Paul continues- and I heartily concur-

… ἐὰν ἡμεῖς ἢ ἄγγελος ἐξ οὐρανοῦ εὐαγγελίσηται παρ᾽ ὃ εὐηγγελισάμεθα ὑμῖν, ἀνάθεμα ἔστω. ὡς προειρήκαμεν, καὶ ἄρτι πάλιν λέγω, εἴ τις ὑμᾶς εὐαγγελίζεται παρ᾽ ὃ παρελάβετε, ἀνάθεμα ἔστω (Gal 1:8-9).

[Thanks to Irene Hahn on FB for the tip.  And the aneurysm]

The Most Depressing News I’ve Heard Today

Ref.ch bears the bad news:

photo by me

Drei von zehn Personen in der Stadt Zürich sind römisch-katholisch. Damit sind die Katholiken die grösste Glaubensgemeinschaft in der «Zwinglistadt». Die Zahl der Reformierten beträgt nur noch rund ein Viertel, wie Statistik Stadt Zürich am 27. November mitteilte.  Seit 2010 werden jährlich 40000 Personen in der Stadt Zürich vom Bundesamt für Statistik befragt. Die Befragung erfolgt im Rahmen der sogenannten Strukturerhebung, welche die frühere Volkszählung abgelöst hat. Zu den Themen Sprache, Bildung und Religion hat Statistik Stadt Zürich die neusten Zahlen ausgewertet.

The gist- in case you aren’t familiar with the language of heaven – is that in Zurich Catholics now outnumber the Reformed…

This is a dark day. I need a nap.

Our Reprobate Culture

The traditional first-day of Christmas shopping known as “Black Friday” has taken on an entirely different meaning for a South Florida Planned Parenthood clinic that offered special pricing on birth control and emergency contraception to women if they visited the clinic between certain hours.  In what appears to be an email offer to a supporter, the message read: “Dear Anne, We are truly thankful for all our patients and supporters, so this Thanksgiving we are offering a day after Thanksgiving special! Visit the Kendall or West Palm Beach health center for this one-day deal.” The Coupon by Planned Parenthood of South Florida offered $10.00 off for a visit on Friday, November 23, between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm. The coupon was also good for $5.00 off of an “emergency contraception.”

Death peddlers. I’m sure what they’ve done will be applauded as enlightened but I find it disgusting and yet more evidence that our culture is reprobate.  It says to women- ‘hey, we know you’re promiscuous and we want you to feel better about your actions so, come on down and pay us a visit and we’ll take care of that little ‘mistake’ so you don’t have to deal with it.’

Damnable destroyers of life and mockers of all that’s good and decent in terms of the gift of sexuality and intimacy.  Black Friday special indeed.

A Newly Discovered Early Fragment of Romans

So according to Dan Wallace

At the Society of Biblical Literature’s annual conference in Chicago last week (17–20 Nov 2012), Grant Edwards and Nick Zola presented papers on a new papyrus fragment from Romans. They have dated it to the (early) third century, which makes this perhaps only the fifth manuscript of Romans prior to the fourth (though a couple of others are usually thought to also be from the third century). This manuscript is part of the Green Collection (inventory #425). It will be published in the first volume of a new series by the Dutch academic publishing house, E. J. Brill. The series, edited by Dirk Obbink and Jerry Pattengale, is called the Green Scholars Initiative: Papyrus Series. Volume one is edited by Jeff Fish of Baylor University.

Unfortunately Brill doesn’t list it yet.

The text of the fragment is from Rom 9.18–21 and small portions of Rom 10. Edwards presented information about the paleography and provenance of the fragment, while Zola presented his findings on the textual affinities of the papyrus.

As to the heart of the matter-

The certain readings all agree with the text of NA28. In the gaps, reconstructions were necessary and there Green 425 agrees with the main Alexandrian witnesses where they are united, with a portion of them when they split.

And

In 9.19, it has μοι ουν, in agreement with the Alexandrians, instead of ουν μοι found in the Western and Byzantine witnesses. The second ουν of v. 19 is apparently omitted in this fragment, in agreement with א A 1739 Byz, against P46 B D F G. In 9.20 Green 425 apparently omitted μενουνγε, agreeing with P46 D F G. In 10.1 the fragment agrees with the Alexandrian and Western witnesses in reading αυτων instead of the Byzantine reading, του Ισραηλ.

So in short, the Byzantine textual tradition loses again.

Dan has other details which will be of interest to folk, so go give his considerably longer post a read.

Le Donne and Others on ‘The Wife of Jesus’

On Dec 5th there will be a mini-conference on the ‘Wife of Jesus’ fragment and Le Donne has been…

included alongside Coptic expert, Caroline Schroeder, and religious ethicist, George Randels. Hebrew Bible scholar, Joel Lohr, will preside and moderate. If you happen to have December 5th open, this event will be hosted at 7pm in the Vereschagin Alumni House (University of the Pacific, 3601 Pacific Ave, Stockton, CA. 95211). I do believe that this event is free to the public.

If you’re in the area you might want to drop in and see what the ‘Jesus wife’ fuss is all about.  (I’m one of those terribly horrid people who thinks the fragment is rubbish, is probably a modern forgery, and even if authentic is so short on context that nothing can ever be made of it.  But Le Donne asked me to mention it and so I do.  After all, he ‘gets’ Bultmann so he can’t be all bad).