Daily Archives: 28 Nov 2012

The U.S. Is Wrong to Vote Against Palestinian U.N. Membership

The UN General Assembly is expected on Thursday to pass a historic resolution recognizing Palestine within the 1967 borders as a nonmember observer state.  At least 150 countries are expected to vote in favor of the resolution. Israel will suffer a humiliating political defeat and find itself isolated along with the United States, Canada, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and, at best, Germany and the Czech Republic.

As the vote approaches, more and more Western democracies are announcing that they will vote in favor of the resolution. “The situation is very serious. We are going to get hit and be almost completely alone,” a senior Foreign Ministry official said.  Eleven members of the European Union have announced their support for the Palestinian move: France, Spain, Cyprus, Portugal, Luxembourg, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Malta, Ireland and Greece. Norway and Switzerland, which are not members of the EU, have also declared their support.

Good for the E.U.

Meanwhile, the United States is opposing the Palestinian move to the last minute. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Middle East Special Envoy David Hale met yesterday with PA President Mahmoud Abbas at his hotel in New York; they told him of the U.S. opposition and asked him to reconsider.

Shame on the U.S.  It’s moral cowardice alone which leads the U.S. to preach democracy except when it collides with Israeli policy.

Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics: An Introduction and Reader

I wasn’t aware of this volume until Doug Iverson mentioned it on the phone today:

‘This is a judiciously selected and carefully introduced series of key readings from the Church Dogmatics. Allen has done the newcomer to Barth a great service by preparing this collection of texts from what remains the most important work in theology of recent times. This volume is a fine resource both for inspiring readers to venture further into Barth’s work for themselves and for encouraging students to engage appreciatively and critically with its content.’ – Paul T. Nimmo, The University of Edinburgh, UK.

Here’s the publisher’s page.  It does look like an intriguing volume.

The Letter ‘X’ is Never used in the Nomina Sacra- Please Don’t Say It Is, And Don’t say It’s a Proper Replacement for Christmas

Mike Bird has an interesting little post with which I cannot agree.  He suggests, in short, that it’s ok to abbreviate Christmas with Xmas, suggesting -I think erroneously- that X is the Nomina Sacra.  But it isn’t.

X (the English letter) is not equal to Χ (the Greek letter).  Ξ is.  Further, really, how many people know the Greek letter Χ and use it, and know that they’re using it in reference to Christ?  Finally, the abbreviation for χριστος in the nomina sacra is χρ with the line above, never, to my recollection, is it simply χ (though I’m happy to be shown the error of my ways if someone can provide an example).

In sum, Xmas has nothing to do with Nomina Sacra, nor, in fact, does it have anything to do with Christ, or Christmas.  It’s merely laziness.  Come on people, ditch the annoying and meaningless abbreviations.  Make a little effort and spell out Christ.  It won’t kill you.

Where In the World is Chris Tilling Now?

I’m glad to report that, after a stint in the hospital, he’s back at home.  Recover swiftly friend, recover swiftly.  And if you happen to be curious as to the cause of his hospitalization- here it is.


Congratulations to Oded Lipschits!

ASOR announces that Oded is one of the recipients of the G.E. Wright Award!

The G. Ernest Wright Award is given to the editor/author of the most substantial volume(s) dealing with archaeological material, excavation reports and material culture from the ancient Near East and eastern Mediterranean. This year it was awarded to Oded Lipschits and David Vanderhooft for their book The Yehud Stamp ImpressionsA Corpus of Inscribed Impressions from the Persian and Hellenistic Periods in Judah (Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 2011 [pp. xvi + 796]). This book is the product of over ten years of research and analysis and displays the first comprehensive examination of these important artifacts from ancient Israel in about 40 years.  The systematic study of Oded Lipschits and David Vanderhooft presents a comprehensive catalogue (through the winter of 2008–2009), classification, and analysis of all published and unpublished Yehud stamp impressions, with digital photographs and complete archaeological and publication data for each impression.  This invaluable, insightful, and exhaustive resource provides a new historical typology for the development of the impressions and casts new light on the related fields of stratigraphy, paleography, administration, historical geography, and the Persian-period economy.  The meticulous investigation includes distribution, petrographic analysis (of the clay), new readings of the seal legends, use of the toponym Yehud, and significance of the title. The quality of the volume is such that all future studies of these invaluable artifacts will employ this work both as a resource and as a basis for comparison. The authors have produced of a very substantial volume, dealing with both archaeological material and material culture from the ancient Near Eastern and eastern Mediterranean world.

Recognition well deserved!  Congrats, Oded!

Get Thee to St. Gallen!

They’re putting on an exhibit there you’ll want to attend:

Die Stiftsbibliothek St. Gallen eröffnet am 2. Dezember eine neue Ausstellung mit handschriftlichen Bibelüberlieferungen aus dem 5. bis 18. Jahrhundert und Drucken aus dem 15. bis 19. Jahrhundert.


Zu sehen seien Bibeltexte in ältesten Abschriften, Bibelhandschriften in verschiedenen Sprachen, aber auch künstlerisch herausragende Bibelillustrationen, heisst es im Programm der Stiftsbibliothek. Weiter zeige die Ausstellung Bibelbearbeitungen und –kommentare aus dem Hoch- und Spätmittelalter sowie eine Vielfalt von Bibeldrucken, etwa die berühmte Koberger-Bibel von 1483 und die umstrittene Kupferbibel des Zürcher Naturforschers Johann Jakob Scheuchzer aus dem 19. Jahrhundert.

And the best part-

Zur Eröffnung hält der Freiburger Alttestamentler Adrian Schenker einen Einführungsvortrag mit dem Titel «Die zwei Seiten der St. Galler Bibelschätze. Ihr künstlerischer Wert und ihre Bedeutung für die Geschichte des biblischen Textes, illustriert an einem Beispiel aus den Propheten».

That’s right, your friend and mine Adrian Schenker (Editor in Chief of the BHQ project!) has part. Get thee to St. Gallen!

‘The Radical Minority’ in Islam? Maybe Not Such a Minority After All

Maybe it’s time to start speaking of a minority of Muslims who are NOT radicals, because it seems that most Muslims, at least in many places (where the survey mentioned below took place) are quite radical.

About eight-in-ten Muslims in Egypt and Pakistan (82% each) endorse the stoning of people who commit adultery; 70% of Muslims in Jordan and 56% of Nigerian Muslims share this view. Muslims in Pakistan and Egypt are also the most supportive of whippings and cutting off of hands for crimes like theft and robbery; 82% in Pakistan and 77% in Egypt favor making this type of punishment the law in their countries, as do 65% of Muslims in Nigeria and 58% in Jordan. When asked about the death penalty for those who leave the Muslim religion, at least three-quarters of Muslims in Jordan (86%), Egypt (84%) and Pakistan (76%) say they would favor making it the law; in Nigeria, 51% of Muslims favor and 46% oppose it. In contrast, Muslims in Lebanon, Turkey and Indonesia largely reject the notion that harsh punishments should be the law in their countries. About three-quarters of Turkish and Lebanese Muslims oppose the stoning of people who commit adultery (77% and 76%, respectively), as does a narrower majority (55%) of Muslims in Indonesia. Opposition to whippings and cutting off of hands for crimes like theft and robbery and the death penalty for people who leave Islam is even more widespread in these three countries; 86% of Muslims in Lebanon, 82% in Turkey and 61% in Indonesia are against making harsh punishments for robbery and theft the law in their countries, and 93%, 91% and 64%, respectively, object to the death penalty against those who leave the Muslim religion.

Radical ‘minority’?  It doesn’t seem so.  The real minority in Islam clearly appears to be those not living in the 14th century.

A Workshop on Codicology

The Genizah Research Unit at Cambridge announces-

A workshop on codicology next July in Berlin. To be taught by leading experts Profs Judith Olszowy-Schlanger and Malachi Beit-Arié. For those who would like to attend note this important (and, for me, welcome) fact: ‘Der Workshop findet in englischer Sprache statt.’ For more information, see the website: http://www.ihiw.de/w/scriptorium/hebrew-manuscripts-studies-an-introduction/

click to enlarge

Jesus and the Jehovah’s Witnesses

via ref.ch on Facebook

‘Good day, I come in the name of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Have you found Jesus yet?’