This Is the Book that Changed My Mind About the Palestinian/ Israeli Conflict

downloadBack in the late 80’s a friend recommended that I read ‘The Yellow Wind‘.  At the time, I was all about Israel and all about the Palestinians being pushed out of the Land which God had promised the Israelites.  That book changed my mind.

It changed my mind because it shows exactly how the media had (at that time) misrepresented everything that there was to know about the place and the people.

I never, contrary to popular opinion, sunk to the depraved depths of anti-semitic belief but from that point on I knew that the Palestinians were being silenced and their lives valued less than Israeli lives and that was simply wrong and unacceptable from a Christian point of view.

If you read this book you may not change your mind- but you will never be the same.

The Erosion of Palestine

Palestinians are losing, bit by bit, every inch of land they and their ancestors ever possessed, as this historical series of maps by Jürgen Todenhöfer demonstrates.


Tell us again how the Palestinians are supposed to act when they are, for all intents and purposes, being exterminated.

Israel is doing to them exactly what America did to Native Americans.  Bit by bit, parcel by parcel, village by village, they’re being exterminated and expunged.

Reminder- You can Get Jonathan Stökl’s Book For Free

Divination, Politics, and Ancient Near Eastern Empires, Alan Lenzi and Jonathan Stökl, editors

This collection examines the ways that divinatory texts in the Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East undermined and upheld the empires in which the texts were composed, edited, and read. Nine essays and an introduction engage biblical scholarship on the Prophets, Assyriology, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the critical study of ancient empires. This book features interdisciplinary approaches, including propaganda studies, essays that examine how political and theological empires shaped biblical and other ancient Near Eastern texts, and an index of ancient sources.

Paper $35.95, ISBN 9781589839960
Hardcover $50.95, ISBN 9781589839977
E-book (pdf) gratis, ISBN 9781589839984
220 pages • Ancient Near East Monographs 7

Other titles in this series: Reading Akkadian Prayers and Hymns: An Introduction(Lenzi); The Forgotten Kingdom: The Archaeology and History of Northern Israel(Finkelstein); Constructs of Prophecy in the Former and Latter Prophets and Other Texts (Grabbe and Nissinen)

Go to the SBL store and search it for the link.

Why I Don’t Believe Either Side in the Gaza Conflict

I don’t believe Hamas when it makes claims and offers statements.  And I don’t believe the IDF.  Both are waging a propaganda war, along with the real war that they seem to love so much.

The only thing I believe is that hundreds have been killed and I don’t give a flaming rat’s rip ‘who started it’.  Neither side is ‘man enough’ to stop it.

Consequently, I don’t believe any word spoken from Gaza City or Jerusalem.  I only believe actions, which speak louder than words’.  And the action most profoundly distressing is that kids and women are dying.  Whether people wish to point at Hamas and say ‘they’re using kids as human shields- they’re terrible!’ or wish to point at Israel and say ‘they’re shooting kids and bombing them too- they’re terrible!’

The terrible thing is that both parties are terrible.  Awful people doing awful things awfully.  I disdain them all.

Church History: It’s Such an Amazingly Fascinating Field

Three new volumes from Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht are proof that the field is experiencing a real renaissance-

Ryan M. McGraw: »A Heavenly Directory. Trinitarian Piety, Public Worship and a Reassessment of John Owen’s Theology«

There is a growing body of historical literature on the importance of John Owen. Ryan M. McGraw seeks to reassess Owen’s theology in light of the way in which he connected his trinitarian piety to his views of public worship. (More information)

Luka Ilic: »Theologian of Sin and Grace. The Process of Radicalization in the Theology of Matthias Flacius Illyricus«

In this work, the author establishes that Flacius’ theology became increasingly radicalized with time and examines aspects of this process through following two parallel tracks. One trajectory focuses on the development of Flacius’ theological thought, while the other one discusses the pivotal influences and major turning points in his life, such as being exiled from different cities. (More information)

Claudio Moreschini: »A Christian in Toga. Boethius: Interpreter of Antiquity and Christian Theologian«

The author presents Boethius in the culture of the sixth century in Italy, outlines his great cultural project and discusses the problem of his Christian faith. (More information)

Raphael Golb isn’t In Jail Yet Because the American ‘Justice’ System is a Farce

golbA blogger convicted of criminally impersonating his father’s academic rivals on the subject of the Dead Sea Scrolls will stay out of jail for the time being. Raphael Golb was scheduled to start his two-month sentence on Tuesday. But a New York judge decided Monday to postpone it. Golb hopes to remain free during appeal. He says he merely used satire in support of his father, a University of Chicago professor. An appeals court said a law used in some counts against him was unconstitutionally broad. Defense attorney Ronald Kuby says Golb is therefore entitled to a new trial. The scrolls contain the earliest known versions of portions of the Hebrew Bible. Prosecutors had no immediate comment. More court papers are due by Aug. 25.

Never mind justice for the victims of Golb’s crimes. As long as he’s ok that’s all that matters to the American Injustice System (and it’s a farce).

How many times does the miscreant have to be found guilty before he serves his sentence?

And They Say That There’s A Difference Between the Taliban and the Israeli Far Right…

Here’s proof that they are just the same in their mentality and tactics:

An Israeli academic and former intelligence officer in the regime’s military has called for the use of rape as a deterrent against Palestinian resistance fighters.

3909446292Mordechai Kedar, a fluent Arabic speaker and lecturer on Arabic literature at Bar Ilan University, said in a radio interview earlier this month that the nature of Arab culture left Israel with few options other than resorting to measures such as rape to deter Palestinian resistance operations against its occupation.

The interview, conducted in Hebrew, was recently translated into English and has since made news in Israel’s left wing publications and in alternative news sites abroad.

Left wing Israeli magazine +972 translated a portion of the interview on its website:

Kedar: “A terrorist, like those who kidnapped the boys and killed them, the only thing that will deter them, is if they know that either their sister or mother will be raped if they are caught. What can we do? This is the culture that we live in.”

Interviewer, Yossi Hadar: “Yes, this sounds bad, but…”

Kedar: “It sounds very bad, but this is a lesson. This is the Middle East. Only the knowledge that…

Hadar: “Well, we can’t do things like this…”

Kedar: “I’m telling you, I’m talking about them, I’m not talking about what we can do or not do. I’m telling you what they live in. This is the only thing that deters a suicide bomber. If he knows that when he pulls the trigger, or blows himself up, his sister will be raped. That’s it. That’s the only thing that will bring him back home, to keep the honour of his sister. This is the culture of the Middle East. I didn’t create it, but this is the situation.”

The conclusion of the piece is even worse:

Bar Ilan University responded to the controversy by defending the academic in comments published by Haaretz. “Dr Kedar did not call and does not call to fight terror with anything but legal and moral means,” said the university.

In what universe is the rape of women as a weapon of war, or ever at all, moral????  How despicable.

Handbook of Pentecostal and Charismatic Theology

978-3-647-52201-2From the good folk at V&R- a new volume that the pentecostals and charismatics and those interested in their ‘theology’ will want to examine.

Die Annäherung zwischen der pfingstlichen und der etablierten akademischen Theologie ist inzwischen in beide Richtungen zu beobachten: pfingstliche Ansätze werden in klassischen Debatten rezipiert und pfingstliche Theologen rezipieren den Theorie- und Methodenkanon der etablierten historisch-kritischen Theologie.

In der deutschen Theologie hat eine fundierte Auseinandersetzung mit der weltweit äußerst einflussreichen Pfingstbewegung jedoch bislang kaum stattgefunden, nicht zuletzt, da die meist englischsprachigen Beiträge akademisch etablierter Pfingstler und Charismatiker hierzulande kaum wahrgenommen werden.

Dieser Band bietet einen Überblick über pfingstliche Theologien anhand einer systematischen Einführung und der Übersetzung ausgewählter Beiträge zu zentralen theologischen Anliegen. Die so vermittelte Orientierung ermöglicht eine differenzierte Auseinandersetzung mit pfingstlicher und charismatischer Theologie.

Fun Facts from Church History: the Day Calvin Completed his Commentary on the Psalms

Jean_CalvinAfter a fairly long introduction, Calvin writes

…[I]n unfolding the internal affections both of David and of others, I discourse upon them as matters of which I have familiar experience.

Moreover, since I have laboured faithfully to open up this treasure for the use of all the people of God, although what I have done has not been equal to my wishes, yet the attempt which I have made deserves to be received with some measure of favour. Still I only ask that each may judge of my labours with justice and candour, according to the advantage and fruit which he shall derive from them. Certainly, as I have said before, in reading these Commentaries, it will be clearly seen that I have not sought to please, unless in so far as I might at the same time be profitable to others. And, therefore, I have not only observed throughout a simple style of teaching, but in order to be removed the farther from all ostentation, I have also generally abstained from refuting the opinions of others, although this presented a more favourable opportunity for plausible display, and of acquiring the applause of those who shall favour my book with a perusal.

I have never touched upon opposite opinions, unless where there was reason to fear, that by being silent respecting them, I might leave my readers in doubt and perplexity. At the same time, I am sensible that it would have been much more agreeable to the taste of many, had I heaped together a great mass of materials which has great show, and acquires fame for the writer; but I have felt nothing to be of more importance than to have a regard to the edification of the Church. May God, who has implanted this desire in my heart, grant by his grace that the success may correspond thereto!

GENEVA, July 22, 1557*

Calvin’s desire in publishing his commentary wasn’t to impress the academic world, it was to edify the Church. Few and far between (and in most places they don’t even exist) are scholars today who write commentaries for the Church. Rather, they seem much more interested in impressing one another.

As a consequence, Calvin’s commentary is still being read, because it’s still profitable while it is extremely unlikely that 99.9% of the commentaries written today will be read even a decade from now, much less 500 years from now.
*Commentary on the Book of Psalms (Vol. 1, pp. xlviii–xlix).

Hey #AIPAC, Why Don’t You Care About Iraq’s Christians?

aipacWhy do you care more about Israelis than you do Christians?  Shouldn’t you also care about brothers and sisters?  Your perversion of Scripture and your reckless pseudo theology are most plainly known by the fact that you never speak out on behalf of the truly persecuted.

You, #AIPAC, are a shameful cult.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

Candida Moss Reviews ‘Persecuted’

What does she think of it?  About as much as yours truly thinks of dilettantes…

‘Liberal elites’ may be more contemptuous of the fervently religious these days, but it’s the hysterical rants of bad movies like ‘Persecuted’ that fuel this disdain.


Persecuted is a ludicrously mushy political thriller, but the fact that it can find an audience is downright terrifying.

Read all of her take.

Guest Post: Keith Whitelam on ‘The Tactic of Warning Gazans’

The tactic of warning residents of Gaza to evacuate areas before Israeli military tactics is often cited as an example of the humanitarian concern displayed by the IDF. It was part of the justification and defence used by Netanyahu in interviews of the weekend aimed at western audiences.

As many have noted, there is nowhere for the civilian population to go that is safe when the areas to which they are fleeing are also under bombardment. In such a densely populated area, such warnings are at the most useless. But it is more than that. It is a tactic that was used in 1948 to force Palestinians from their villages accompanied by massacres such as Deir Yassin by the Stern and Irgun terror groups to provide a warning of what would happen if they did not leave. The difference now is that Gaza is an open air prison. The population have nowhere to go except to another part of Gaza that will be under attack and the terror is even more profound given the weapons available to the Israeli military.

The warnings to evacuate are not evidence of ethical concern for civilians. It is a longstanding tactic used by the Israeli military to terrorise the Palestinian population. Ominously yesterday, Moshe Feiglin, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party and deputy speaker in the Knesset, called for the expulsion of all Palestinians from Gaza and its incorporation into Israel. The current tactics of wanton killing of the civilian population is a continuation of the terror tactics used by Irgun and the Stern gang in 1948 to expel Palestinians and steal their land.

Keith Whitelam