Daily Archives: 5 Nov 2014

E-Rara Gets a Facelift

It’s one of my favorite, and most frequently consulted sites:


The Worst Book Ever Written

From a review forthcoming:

So, in conclusion, this volume was written, doubtless, with the best of intentions.  Unfortunately, as the old saying goes, ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’ and this book is, to be polite, hellish.  It is demonic.  It is satanic.  There are so many typographical and grammatical errors that the reader will imagine that translations were done either by Google translate or a person who not only barely comprehends English but who can’t express himself in any coherent way.

Aside from the annoying every few pages of rambling nonsense and filler which seems to have been collected from Wikipedia, the book lacks any sort of coherence or sense of purpose.  The opening introduction makes various exciting claims and then the author goes off and does something in a whole new direction.  I’m reminded of the senile senior pastor who began his sermon on Job and spoke about Jesus the entire 45 minutes of gut wrenching and mind numbing pseudo-exposition.

This book’s claim to fame, then, will, at the end of the day, be the dual fact that it was evidently written by a 5 year old (even though it wasn’t) and it’s utterly incomprehensible incoherence.  It is to scholarship what a Yugo is to Formula 1 racing.  Were it a player in a game of football the referee would give it a red card after just 5 minutes of play for its absolute uselessness.

Reading this volume is a trial, a crucifixion, a suffering such as the Son of God would himself find unpalatable.  Avoid it.  If it is sent to you, destroy it.  If you read it, you will hate yourself for it and you will be as terrified to pick up another book as a boy who is run over by a tank on his bicycle is afraid to go on another.

To be sure, it may appear that I have nothing good to say of this volume and that it has nothing of value to offer.  Quite to the contrary- all that I have said to this point are the positives of this tome.  The negatives can’t be posted on a decent blog.   The author of this volume has done academia a disservice by publishing the thing and the publisher should be utterly ashamed of itself.

This is the worst book yet written.  This is the worst scholarly book that probably ever will be written.  Anyone writing a book right now, no matter how dreadful it is, will have accomplished something far superior to this senseless Dreck no matter how miserable, poor, slovenly, and idiotic.

Your book will never be as bad as this book.  You can rest at ease tonight and every night of your life in the assurance that you haven’t penned the most hellish book ever to befoul the academic landscape.

Conference Announcement

From the delightful Perrot Antony-

Un colloque d’exception sur la “Bibliothèque d’Alexandrie” se tiendra à l’Institut Polis à Jérusalem, les 8 et 9 janvier prochains.  De très grands spécialistes, tels que Henri Gourinard (Polis Institute), Christophe Rico (Polis Institute), Jan Joosten (Oxford University) ou Etienne Nodet (EBAF), débattrons sur l’une des plus fascinantes bibliothèques au monde.

And more, here.  I’ve been to the library at Alexandria a couple of times.  It’s delightful.  Not the old one, the new one.  I’m old, but not that old.  If you can attend this conference you ought to.

Yes, It Is


via FB

Signs of the Times: The Trivialization of Marriage Continues

In our ongoing attempts to destroy marriage some folk have put forth the idea that marriages ought to expire, like milk or drivers licenses.

With weddings becoming a minority pursuit in Britain – about 47 per cent have tied the knot, slipping below 50 per cent for the first time – this might seem like a question worth asking. According to a website that specialises in enabling people to betray their spouses and have affairs, the concept of “till death us do part” is outdated and should be phased out.  “Marriage should be just like a passport or driver’s licence,” said Mike Taylor, a spokesman for IllicitEncounters.com. “If individuals are not interested in renewing it, then it expires.”

“If something isn’t working, people don’t just live with it. People are more than willing to change their car or washing machine if it has stopped working, why would they stay in a marriage that isn’t working?  One might have thought that the flaw in this logic is obvious. After all, you do not fall in love with a washing machine; have children with a washing machine; or promise to remain true to a washing machine as long as you both shall live.

Small wonder the reprobate thinks marriage is meaningless and commitment is passe- he runs a website for like minded perverted reprobates.  Birds of a feather I suppose.  And equating marriage to the purchase of a car shows his complete vapidity and unfamiliarity with the very notion of dedication and loyalty and compassion and companionship.  He’s just one of many who think relationships are only meaningful if sex is the center of it.


Zwingli: Professor of Old and New Testament

From a forthcoming volume by Daniel Timmerman on Bullinger that you’ll definitely want to read (it’s brilliant) -this snippet –

Zwingli was the central theological authority. While the other lecturers mainly devoted themselves to philological elaboration of the Biblical text, it was Zwingli’s duty to formulate its theological meaning. The concluding sermon of the “prophecy,” by Jud or another preacher, seems to have been a summation of Zwingli’s exposition of the pericope at hand. As the city’s Schulherr he not only supervised the educational system, but also functioned as theological professor at the Old and New Testament lectures.

I’m smitten by this volume. It’s true love.  I’ll have much more to say about it in due course.


Jim Aitken is at it Again

Publishing this new Festschrift:

9781107001633The Jewish-Greek tradition represents an arguably distinctive strand of Judaism characterized by use of the Greek language and interest in Hellenism. This volume traces the Jewish encounter with Greek culture from the earliest points of contact in antiquity to the end of the Byzantine Empire. It honors Nicholas de Lange, whose distinguished work brought recognition to an undeservedly neglected field, in part by dispelling the common belief that Jewish-Greek culture largely disappeared after 100 CE. The authors examine literature, archaeology, and biblical translations, such as the Septuagint, in order to illustrate the substantial exchange of language and ideas. The Jewish-Greek Tradition in Antiquity and the Byzantine Empire demonstrates the enduring significance of the tradition and will be an essential handbook for anyone interested in Jewish studies, biblical studies, ancient and Byzantine history, or the Greek language.

  • Provides the first comprehensive survey of the Jewish-Greek tradition
  • Develops the continuity within the Jewish-Greek tradition
  • Honors the significant work of scholar Nicholas de Lange

Not only is Jim the greatest living Septuagintalist, he’s also a writing machine.

The Stone-Throwers of Zurich

Heinrich Bullinger relates the story of two men in Zurich throwing stones at Zwingli’s house one night as follows:


stones2HBRG 1, 291-292.

Wretched Cretins.

Simon Joseph’s Nonviolent Jesus at B&I

Was Jesus nonviolent at the beginning of his ministry only to embrace violence later? Or vice versa? Or was Jesus radically nonviolent throughout his ministry and then misrepresented in the Gospels? Did Jesus say “love your enemies” and then assign them to eternal hell? Did Jesus change his mind? Or is it the tradition itself that is confused and irreconcilable?

That’s the abstract. Go to B&I to read it all.

It Was My First Book, Published in 2005. It’s Almost 10 Years Old

jimbiblestudyAnd you still need it if you haven’t got it.

It is a handy one volume introduction to the basic tools and issues of Biblical Studies. It includes a brief history of Israel and the Church (in its earliest years); the Biblical languages Hebrew and Greek; the theology of the Old and New Testaments; a proposed solution to the problem of Synoptic relationships; a brief look at the use of the Old Testament by the writers of the New, and a short introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls.

It may appear to some that this is a bit much to handle in one book; but the author’s purpose is not to discuss every viewpoint or look under every rock. Rather, he wishs simply to place in the interested person’s hand a handy tool with which to begin Biblical Studies.

In our day of over-specialization what is needed among the inhabitants of the pew is a general overview. That, and that alone, is what the author is seeking to provide.

And, speaking of books, if you still haven’t pre-ordered the commentary from Logos, Zwingli has a message for you:


Zwingli Excoriates those Who Voted For Deceivers and Manipulators


The New ‘Tanakh: Jewish Study Bible’ is Out…

And I love the description:

The Jewish Study Bible, Second Edition, is an essential resource for studying the Hebrew Bible.

The Jewish Study Bible combines the entire Hebrew Bible (Old Testament)—in the celebrated Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation—with explanatory notes, introductory materials, and essays by leading biblical scholars on virtually every aspect of the text, the world in which it was written, its interpretation, and its role in Jewish life. The quality of scholarship, easy-to-navigate format, and vibrant supplementary features bring the ancient text to life.

This second edition includes revised annotations for nearly the entire Bible, as well as forty new and updated essays on many of the issues in Jewish interpretation, Jewish worship in the biblical and post-biblical periods, and the influence of the Hebrew Bible in the ancient world.


Does not include the New Testament
Book introductions
Color maps
9-point text size
9.25″ x 6.75″ x 1.75″

Note- it does NOT include the New Testament… Just in case you might have thought it did… [That little bullet point has me smiling still].

Today With Zwingli

Today marks the anniversary of the publication of Zwingli’s Antwort über Balthasar Hubmaiers Taufbüchlein.  Concerning Hubmaier, Myconius wrote in his first biography of Zwingli

Doctor Balthasar Hübmaier was the head of the Catabaptists, not long before a friend and companion in the gospel, but a little while after a most violent foe. He first broke out in writings and then after he had escaped from Waldshut, a town on the Rhine, and had secretly entered into Zurich, being apprehended, he resisted by word of mouth in the court-house in the presence of the deputies only. Then he requested the Senate that he be permitted to confer with Leo Jud, Sebastian Hofmeister,2 and me. His wishes were complied with a second time. We laboured with this man so that he promised to recant the next day. Therefore in this mind coming the day after into the church from the court-house, he ascended the pulpit after Zwingli was come down and confirmed all he had taught before, moved thereto he pretended because he (Zwingli) had put so much stress upon constancy, the miserable man judging that his pertinacity was constancy! Returned to prison he was altogether hidden until by the kindness of Zwingli he was secretly sent away, not without a guide and travelling money, and came to Constance, where he so loaded the man [Zwingli] with abuse that he was forced to apologise to the brethren. But enough of the Catabaptists.

The setting for the book published on this date in 1525 is described thusly by Simpson:

Zurich has been criticised for her harsh treatment of the Anabaptists. Fairness demands that the peculiar perils of the political situation should be borne in mind, coupled with the fact that the offenses for which the members of this sect were punished were of a civil rather than a religious nature. Certain deeds of violence at Zollikon on Pentecost, 1524—the breaking of the images, altars, and baptismal font of the Church—were the first acts which brought the Anabaptists into conflict with the civil authorities.

This affair particularly annoyed Zwingli, because it occurred at the very time when he was deliberating on means for the legal and orderly removal of abuses. The Council promptly punished the offenders with prison and banishment. The sentence was regarded by them and their friends in the light of a persecution, and accepted in a manner well becoming true martyrs. Fuel was thus added to the fires of fanaticism, and the streets of Zurich were made to ring with the cries of the persecuted. Wild scenes of disorder were publicly enacted. In the midst of this state of affairs the Council appointed a public disputation in the Town Hall, and summoned the Anabaptist leaders to meet Zwingli there in defense of their views.

They excused themselves on the ground that they had already disputed sufficiently with Zwingli, alleging, furthermore, that his speeches were so long as to be unendurable. They were compelled, however, to appear, and on the 17th of January, 1525, the first disputation with the Anabaptists took place. It was of brief duration, and the victory remained with Zwingli. The Council at the close published the following decree:

“An error having arisen in respect of baptism to the effect that infants should not be baptized until they arrive at years of discretion and knowledge of the faith; and some having in consequence thereof left their children unbaptized, we have ordered a disputation on this matter on the ground of Holy Scripture; and have ordained that without regard to this error children must be baptized as soon as born; and that those who have left their children unbaptized must have the rite performed within the next eight days. Whosoever will not conform to this decree shall, with wife and child, with purse and property, quit the city of our lords, their jurisdiction and territory, or take what further may befall him.”

Zwingli did not approve of this decree. He felt that the Council, moved by fear for the safety of the state, had exceeded its authority, and foresaw that the effect of this measure would be to augment the violence of the Anabaptists and spread their error all the more widely. This is what actually came to pass. The leaders circulated the report that they had defeated Zwingli in debate, and many of their followers were credulous enough to believe it, and were encouraged to demand a second public disputation. They asserted their readiness to stake everything—their property and their lives—upon the Word of God. They requested that their banished leaders might be allowed to return under safe conduct to defend their cause.

Zwingli heartily supported this petition, and the government granted it, fixing upon November 6, 1525, as the date for the conference. The Anabaptists assembled in great numbers from all the villages of the canton, and their cause was defended by Grebel, Manz, and Blaurock. The debate lasted three days and was confined principally to the doctrine of baptism.

Once more the victory remained with Zwingli, and this time it was more decided than before. When the disputation was ended the Council published in substance the following decree:

“The Anabaptists and their followers having for three successive days disputed in the Town Hall, in our presence and in the presence of the whole community, and each and every Baptist without any hindrance having spoken his quarrel, dispute, and opinion, it hath from first to last appeared that Master Ulrich Zwingli, with his followers, has completely overcome the Anabaptists, demonstrated the invalidity of Anabaptism, and on the other hand established the validity of infant baptism. Therefore we hereby command and enjoin all persons, man or woman, young man or maiden, to abstain from such Anabaptism, and we authorize infants only to be baptized.”*

Worth noting is the fact that Zwingli’s book against the teaching of Hubmaier appeared the day before the Disputation with the Re-Baptizers began. There’s little reason to doubt that some in attendance were thumbing through it during the proceedings.
*Life of Ulrich Zwingli: The Swiss Patriot and Reformer (pp. 151–155).

Democrats: An Observation

Well the election dust has settled and the Republicans have pushed the Democrats completely out of Congressional power.  The reason for this is simple: the Democrats were too willing to embrace fringe elements which did not represent the majority of Americans.  So they lost.  And they have no one to blame but themselves.

The Democrats are not perceived to represent the majority any longer.   They have shot themselves in the foot.

But does that mean the Republicans are a better choice?  Nope.  Because at the end of the day they don’t represent the majority of Americans any longer either.  They too pander to a tiny minority of citizens: the wealthy.  Neither party cares about you, Mr or Ms average.

So, no matter who you voted for, they have a different agenda than you do.  Your agenda is the improvement of America.  Their agenda is the improvement of their power and wealth.