Daily Archives: 17 Apr 2013

More Anti-Palestinian Hatred From the Ultra Orthodox

Rabbi Michael Lerner writes in his newsletter that quite recently…

A group of right-wing Zionists appealed to the president of San Jose State University (SJSU)  to interfere with a seminar on how to teach about Israel/Palestine convened by an Iranian professor named Persis Karim.

Prof. Karim’s intention was to help people see both sides, and she invited me as part of the discussion because my recent book Embracing Israel/Palestine argues that both sides have co-created the situation in the Middle East and both sides need to overcome the tendency to demonize the other. But from the standpoint of the right-wing Zionist group Amcha, this even-handedness is tantamount to  hatred of the Jewish people which must always be portrayed as the righteous victim being oppressed by some evil Other.

What ensued were attempts by some on the faculty to demand changes in the program so that their right-wing perspective could be presented (to the twelve educators signed up for the seminar) and by Amcha in a letter to the President of the University that he should know that the seminar may be in violation of Federal regulations and he should not allow similar events to happen in the future that did not represent all perspectives.

Prof. Karim was in tears when she told me how brutal and irrational the attacks on her have become. Luckily, and unlike many of her colleagues both at San Jose State and around the US who watch these incidents and learn to avoid anything that might offend these right-wingers, Prof, Karim has tenure. But that has not stopped other efforts elsewhere to remove even tenured faculty who are suspected of having critical views of Israel’s policies toward Palestinians.

Prof. Karim has not backed down, and the president of San Jose State has not canceled the seminar. But until this kind of harassment stops, there is little chance that this kind of policy of intellectual fascism will cease, that faculty without tenure will feel secure, or that the media will even report about it.

Just so you know- the hatred of Palestinians is an epidemic spreading across academia.  It bears repudiation and scholars owe it to society to call a spade a spade and denounce the silencing of Palestinian voices.

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Posted by on 17 Apr 2013 in Modern Culture


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Best. Lunatic. Ever!  With 10,000 thanks to Robert Williams Jr for the unending source of laughter!


COLLOQUE DE L’AISR (17-22 MAI 2013): Athens

Via Emidio Campi, the provisional program for an upcoming conference in Athens that may be of interest to folk there and thereabouts-

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Posted by on 17 Apr 2013 in Church History, Conferences


Passage du Jour

Jer 19:1-6 (Calvin’s translation)

1 Who will make my head waters
And mine eye a fountain of tears!
Then would I bewail, day and night,
The slain of the daughter of my people.

jerome2 Who will set me in the desert, In the lodging of travellers! Then would I leave my people And depart from them: For all of them are adulterers, An assembly of perfidious men. 3 And they shoot lies with their tongue as with bow; But not for truth are they strong in the land; For from evil to evil they proceed; And me they know not, saith Jehovah. 4 And every one of his friend take ye heed,And in a brother trust ye not; For every brother by supplanting will supplant, And every friend walks fraudulently: 5 And a man deceives his neighbour, And the truth he speaks not; They have taught their tongues to speak falsehood; With doing evil they weary themselves.

6 Thou dwellest in the midst of deceit;
Through deceit they refuse
To know me, saith Jehovah

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Posted by on 17 Apr 2013 in Bible




When people ask me why I’m nice to Francesca Stavrakopoulou even though we share different perspectives vis-a-vis faith I tell them it’s because she’s respectful and never rude.

And then I add that i have lots of agnostic/atheist friends and dont have a problem at all with any of them- until they have a demeaning attitude towards faith. At that point, I take the gloves off and the flower of kindness is denuded by the tornado of me-ness.

Here I stand.  I can do nothing otherwise.  God help you.

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Posted by on 17 Apr 2013 in Theology


Quote of the Day

From the twitter-

“Church Curmudgeon- We’ve gone from “Here I stand, I can do no other” to “The customer is always right”.” 

Boy aint that the truth.

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Posted by on 17 Apr 2013 in Modern Culture, Theology


Aren Maeir: Public Lecture on ‘The Search for Goliath’

Aren Maeir

At William Jessup University

Over the last decade and a half, Aren Maeir has been leading excavations at the site of Tell es-Safi, which is identified as Philistine Gath, hometown of the legendary biblical figure Goliath. In his lecture, Prof. Maeir will describe some of the fascinating biblical era finds that have been discovered including biblical-related cultic objects, inscriptions, dramatic evidence of the destruction of the city of Gath (mentioned in 2 Kings 12), as well as other gripping finds that enable us to paint a vivid picture of the Land of the Bible during the time of the Israelite and Judahite kings and prophets.

This event is hosted by Dr. Cynthia Shafer-Elliott and the WJU Bible and Theology Department.

Date: April 18th from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Location: Lecture Hall, WJU Campus

Go if you can!

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Posted by on 17 Apr 2013 in Archaeology


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Oh Francesca

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Posted by on 17 Apr 2013 in Friends, Humor



Conference Announcement: Convergence and Divergence in Pentateuchal Theory: Bridging the Academic Cultures of Israel, North America and Europe

Sounds fun doesn’t it.  Go to the link for all the details.  With thanks to Chris Rollston for passing it along.

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Posted by on 17 Apr 2013 in Bible, Conferences


Agnostics, Cudgels, Muddled Thinking, and High Comedy

"αθεοι" (atheoi), Greek for "th...

Agnostics profess that they are uncertain concerning the existence of God. Unlike atheists, who do not believe in God, agnostics aren’t sure- they’re undecided. For the agnostic, the existence of God is an uncertainty.

Nonetheless, agnostics, especially the angry agnostics (who like the angry atheists are on a crusade to denigrate faith and believers) often utilize a curious strategy in the pursuit of their demeaning goals: God as cudgel.

Their argument runs like this: God (whom, curiously, they are uncertain even exists) did some questionable stuff (so far as they are concerned, being, as they are, the arbiters of all that is good, right and moral throughout time and eternity) in Old Testament times like order the slaughter of the Canaanites and allow slavery and such HORRIBLE things as that. This God, which they deem so awful, is turned into a cudgel. ‘Oh your God is just awful isn’t he! Aren’t I impressive to point it out to you that he did some stuff a long time ago that’s just really wretched! Bow before my superior wisdom and abandon this God just as I have done!!’

But of course if they had more than a little skill and weren’t beset by seriously muddled thinking they would realize how idiotic their argument is. Using something you don’t think exists as a weapon is muddledness incarnate. It’s like saying ‘I don’t think this fairy dust exists but I’m going to blow it in your face and change you into a chicken anyway. Aren’t you impressed?’ Even more, it’s like a child playing with his friends who pretend to shoot each other with unreal weapons and then getting angry when little Bobby doesn’t fall down and play dead.

Here’s the problem with God as cudgel in the hand of the angry agnostic: from THEIR OWN perspective, there’s nothing in their hand- and yet they pretend to flail away and they think people are cowed into being impressed.

That’s High Comedy. No one is impressed by people who pretend that something they don’t think exists is a weapon. They aren’t impressive, they’re laughable.


Posted by on 17 Apr 2013 in Modern Culture


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The kindness of Justin Taylor, the Real Justin Taylor

Now retired but formerly of the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem- Justin has just published this volume and sent it along as a kindness. Super!

Thank you, Justin!


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Posted by on 17 Apr 2013 in Biblical Studies Resources, Books


Twitter Theology That Makes Me Sigh….

Let’s play ‘spot the theological error!’


First, it doesn’t matter HOW you pronounce his name- you aren’t praying TO him, you’re praying to the Father.

Second, turning proper pronunciation into a magical method is neither Christian nor biblical.

And third, Gentile Christians who want to pretend to be Jewish (writing ‘G_d’ and such like) more resemble the Judaizers of Galatia than the Christians of Antioch.

Twitter theology that makes me sigh… because it’s just a pseudo-theology of ignorance.


George Beverly Shea has Died

Much loved gospel singer George Beverly Shea passed away on Tuesday at the age of 104.  His death followed a brief illness.  Shea, of Montreat, North Carolina, accompanied Billy Graham on his mission tours around the world and would sing prior to the legendary evangelist taking to the stage to preach.  He first started working with Graham in 1943 on the Chicago radio hymn programme, “Songs in the Night”, and would go on to devote over half a century in service to the evangelist.  Shea won a Grammy Award in 1965 and in 1978 was inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame.

Man that guy could sing.  May he rest in peace.


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Posted by on 17 Apr 2013 in Modern Culture



Fun Facts From Church History: What Some People in Geneva Were Like in the Mid 1540’s

karik_calv1In the mid 1540’s the kinds of folk who inhabited Geneva included the so-called infectionists. Here’s the ‘backstory’-

A pestilential disorder had for many years prevailed in Geneva, and the surrounding districts, to such a degree, that the population was in fact decimated, two thousand inhabitants dying out of twenty thousand, the highest estimate of the population of this little city.

And following are the deeds of the ‘infectionists’-

All the relations of life were disturbed: the courts of justice were closed; and the evil would have become still worse, had not circumstances led to the discovery of a conspiracy, of rare iniquity even in those times, formed by a set of wretches who diffused the infection by means similar to those employed in 1530.

What did they do?

Their practice was to mix up the virus drawn from those who were sick of the plague with salve, and then to place it upon the locks and bars of doors, and on the lines in the public streets. The disease was thus spread in the most awful manner. Even some of the inspectors of the hospital were in league with these wretches, whose only object it was to share among each other what belonged to the dead.

Hence, ‘infectionists’.

They had bound themselves by an oath, not to cease from this course, till Geneva, as they expressed it, might be fed by a single measure of corn, when it would be possible for them to take possession of the entire city.*

That’s right- they wanted to kill everyone in the city except their own little cult members. These are the kind of people Calvin was dealing with. And you wonder why he was crabby…

*Henry, P., & Stebbing, H. (1851). The Life and Times of John Calvin, the Great Reformer Volume 2 (p. 50).

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Posted by on 17 Apr 2013 in Calvin, Church History