Gershon Galil’s Latest Essay on the Ophel Inscription


… article on the Ophel Inscription was published yesterday (in Hebrew), in:   New Studies on Jerusalem, 19 (2013), pp. 39-56. The English version will be published within a few days.

I’ll post notice when I have it.

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People Are So Very, Very Precious…

Here’s a bit of proof

A woman in North Charleston, South Carolina was arrested on Christmas after she stabbed her husband for coming home without any beer. According to Charleston, South Carolina’s News Channel 2, Helen Ann Williams, 44, attacked her 41-year-old common law husband with a ceramic sculpture of a squirrel.  Police arrived at Williams’ home shortly after midnight Wednesday and found a man bleeding from a deep gash that ran from his shoulder to his chest. Initially Williams tried to convince police that the man had fallen and cut himself.  Police then asked Williams why she had blood all over her hands and clothes and she told them it had come from someone else. Finally, she broke down and admitted that she sent her spouse to the store for beer. Finding the store closed, he returned home empty handed.

The moral?  When your common law wife (read, shack up for a long timer) sends you out for booze, bring it back or she will stab you with a knick-knack…

Posted in Total Depravity | Comments Off on People Are So Very, Very Precious…

Fun Facts From Church History: Calvin’s Letter to Geneva

history-of-the-reformation-in-europe-in-the-time-of-calvinIf you desire to have me for your pastor, correct the disorder of your lives.  …  I cannot behold without the most painful displeasure … discipline trodden under foot and crimes committed with impunity.  I cannot possibly live in a place so grossly immoral. …  I consider the principal enemies of the Gospel to be, not the pontiff of Rome, nor heretics, nor seducers, nor tyrants, but bad Christians.*

* D.G. Hart, Calvinism: A History (p. 18).

Joan Taylor’s Thoughts on Geza Vermes’ Last Book

“In this final book of his career, published posthumously, Geza Vermes’ insightful eye remains as sharp as ever. Rejecting the traditional villainous presentation of Herod the Great, and drawing on both literary and archaeological evidence, Vermes argues that Herod was a complex figure, capable of terrible acts but also of loyalty and diplomatic brilliance. Beautifully illustrated, and written with a real relish for presenting a personality almost larger than life, this book vividly explores the history of the Jews, Herod’s stunning rise to power, the convolutions of Herod’s personal and political life, his maniacal murders, monumental architecture, death and legacy. Herod has both horrified and fascinated us throughout the centuries, and this book superbly captures why.”

Joan E. Taylor
Professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism
King’s College London

Via.  This is going to be a great read.

Haters Gonna Hate, #AmIRight, Joel, Jeremy?

But it’s always been that way… since the very beginning.

So marked was the favor shown Zwingli by the people, that his enemies had not the boldness to assert themselves. But as the new doctrines began to lose their novelty, and the first general outburst of enthusiasm began to subside, they gathered courage once more and began stealthily to attack him. The monks were especially bitter, and the ears of the canons were soon filled with complaints. Rhenanus says that of his enemies some laughed and joked, while others gave voice to violent threats. To all this Zwingli submitted with Christian patience. His devotion to music, which was as strong as ever, continued to furnish grounds for vilification. His foes dubbed him “the evangelical lute player and fifer.”*

A day without papist hate is a day without truth….  #AmIRight, Joel, Jeremy

*S. Simpson,  Life of Ulrich Zwingli: The Swiss Patriot and Reformer (pp. 79–80).

Joel Baden Takes another Look at the Relationship of David and Jonathan

In an essay in Bible and Interpretation.  Which, thanks to Antonio Lombatti, I saw.  Baden believes

The entire relationship between David and Jonathan appears to be a literary construct from beginning to end. It justifies David’s future rule by rhetorically removing the natural heir apparent. Jonathan would have had every expectation of being king someday—the first Israelite to succeed his father to the throne. Perhaps even more than Saul himself, Jonathan had reason to be protective of the kingship, and wary of David’s popularity. There are no comparative examples of princes willingly relinquishing the throne in favor of someone outside the royal family. Jonathan’s love for David, and the elaborate relationship they enter into, is historically unrealistic.


It Was a Slow Week… Thanks a Lot, Christmas!

From last Saturday through last night-

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Posted in Modern Culture | Comments Off on It Was a Slow Week… Thanks a Lot, Christmas!

Three Reasons Today Should be a Day of Mourning

Jonathan Merritt has done some of his best work in this essay, which suggests, among other things, that

As the tinsel is packed away and the echoes of Christmas carols fade, Christians around the world observe the Feast of Holy Innocents or “Childermas.” On this day, the faithful will read the Biblical story of King Herod’s massacre of children in an attempt to murder the infant Jesus. These infant innocents are considered the first Christian martyrs.

In medieval England, Christians commemorated the day by whipping their children in bed in the morning. The custom survived into the 17th century, but thankfully has fallen away. Today, the December 28 is marked as an occasion of childhood merrymaking.

Very few American Christians actively observe this holiday in the 21st Century. But we have plenty of reasons to grieve this Innocent’s Day as people who believe in the sanctity of life from the womb to the tomb…

Read them.

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There Are Mere Days Left…

wright-jesus-victoryFor you to get your Carnival submissions in.  The Carnival will go live at 12:01 on January 1.  So I need your world-changing epoch-making posts by 9 p.m. on the 31st which is, conveniently, Tuesday.  But remember, the Carnival is a Wright Free Zone this month, so no entries of that sort will find a place.

Posted in Modern Culture | Comments Off on There Are Mere Days Left…

Calvin and His Money

calvin39Unlike today’s super wealthy mega church Pastors, Calvin accepted barely enough income to survive.

He received at Geneva only just sufficient to support him with the greatest parsimony. His pay consisted of fifty dollars, twelve measures of corn, two tuns of wine, and a dwelling-house. The state-protocol of October, 1541, says, indeed, “that a considerable stipend was granted to Calvin, because he was very learned, and visitors cost him much.”

But what proves that this income was very small, according to the price of things at that time, is the circumstance, that the council frequently found it necessary, from mere kindness, to lend him a helping hand. True however to his principles, he refused ten dollars offered him when he was sick in 1546, and two which the council wished him to accept for his journey to Bern, in 1553, on the affairs of the republic.

On December 28, 1556, the council sent him some wood to warm his chamber; he carried them the money for it, but they would not take it. The same body sent him, May 14, 1560, a tun of the best wine, because he had only what was very indifferent.

He borrowed however twenty-five dollars to meet the expenses of his sickness, and on the 22d of June, 1563, earnestly entreated the council to receive them back.* He protested indeed, “that he would never again enter the pulpit, if he were compelled to retain another indemnification.”

Twenty dollars, that is, almost half the amount of his stipend, he had formally rejected,—a plain proof this of his desire to remain poor.

In a letter to Farel (January 21, 1546), he expressly relates how he was once obliged to argue with an anabaptist before the council. This person had treated him badly, till at length driven into a corner, and being full of malice, he answered Calvin, that all the clergy led a life of luxury. The reformer replied, and the anabaptist then called him a miser, which excited general laughter; “For it was recollected what I had given up this very year, and that I had sworn I would not preach again if I were pressed any more on the subject. It was also known that I had refused additional presents, and had given up twenty dollars from my income. All fell upon him when they heard this.”*

Benny Hinn and Mark Driscoll and Kenneth Copeland and all the rest of the pentebabbleist rabble may live like kings and queens, but Calvin, whose life and work matter 10,000 times more, lived on only what was absolutely necessary.

*P. Henry, The Life and Times of John Calvin, the Great Reformer (Vol. 1, pp. 269–270).