Daily Archives: 18 Nov 2014

Compared To the iPad, the Dell Venue Tablet Is Complete Rubbish

The Venue is unwieldy, unfriendly, annoying, and the apps available for it are either lightweight or inadequate.

Most of the most useful applications are utterly unavailable. For instance, the WordPress app I’m using on the iPad right now isn’t in the Microsoft store.

Spare yourself the aggravation and dissatisfaction- and get an iPad.

Mind you, when it comes to my Dell desktop and laptop I wouldn’t trade them for a Mac for anything. But when it comes to mobility, an iPad has no peer in the Windows world.

Dear Lunatics and Nutbags and Weirdos… I’m NOT Interested in What You Have to Say…

So you can STOP sending your unhinged book notices. Thanks.

Global Education à la HEGEL, SCHELLING, FICHTE, AND KANT is the Solution to Our World’s Problems

“In this book, Dr. Foldes takes his previous work to a higher level and makes it accessible to a wider audience. The Handbook may well prove to be of central importance in solving some of our most corrosive problems. Foldes grounds ‘global education’ in the philosophical Science (Wissenschaft) of Hegel and other idealists and shows its application to bothersome issues in politics, religion, personal relations, health and business. A tour de force.”
—John Lachs, Centennial Professor of Philosophy, Vanderbilt University

“Both engaging and erudite, both accessible and challenging, this Handbook appeals to scientific and to New Age communities alike in order to make the case that Hegel’s philosophical Science is not only relevant but is indeed essential for the genuine healing of our planet.”
—Michael Baur, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Fordham University

Really? Someone was ignorant enough to write a blurb for you? Really? Or are these just names you cooked up…  But the next one… well it’s just…

The Jedi Handbook of Global Education: A Guide to Healing Your Planet and Bringing Balance to The Force, 526 pages

Ken Foldes, Fulbright Scholar, a member of The Hegel Society of America, The North American Fichte Society, and The North American Schelling Society

Erghhh…. that doesn’t speak well of either the Hegel Society or the Schelling Society.

The Jedi Handbook of Global Education is unprecedented. It is the first book of its kind to appear anywhere and is the result of 35 years of research and collaboration with some of the greatest minds of the century, John McDermott, Norman O. Brown, Alan Watts, Stan Grof, Amit Goswami, Eckhart Tolle, Tom Altizer, John Sallis, Stanley Rosen, Tom Rockmore, Quentin Lauer, Otto Pöggeler, and Kenley Dove.

I’ve never heard of a single one of these pretend people.

The Handbook offers a global educational program designed to heal our planet, solve all of its problems without exception, and actualize an incredible new world and humanity (“The Jedi Order”). It offers a program that cannot fail to achieve its end, as it is based on an “Absolute Science” that is the culmination of 2,000 years of the history of philosophy and science. The book shows how only Global “Jedi” Education can resolve our many problems and world crises such as war, terrorism, political/religious instability, economic inequality, worldwide poverty, homelessness, nihilism, disease, and “death.” It is unprecedented in its scope. Its program includes not only hands-on methods for transforming K-12 and university education, but also for transforming our major global institutions—politics, religion, science, business, health (medicine & psychiatry), the arts and media—which by their very nature educate and shape the consciousness of nations and individuals. It is superior to other similar programs to heal our planet based on merely “relative” sciences such as quantum physics, which are sense-based and unable to definitively ground the absolute reality of consciousness and the New Holistic Science now coming on the scene as a result of the global “paradigm shift” now occurring on our planet.

Oh for the love of…

Please, nutbags, lose my email address. Instead, send your stuff to Joel Watts. He’s easy to find on Google.

John P. Meier and … Deirdre Barlow

Oh lawsy!

Amazing Lookalike!


On the left is John P. Meier, William K. Warren Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. On the right is Deirdre Barlow, a character on Coronation Street, played by Anne Kirkbride.

We wonder if, by some chance, they might be related?

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Paula Fredriksen and … Sandy Shaw


Amazing Lookalike!


On the left is Paula Fredriksen, Aurelio Professor of Scripture emerita at Boston University and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. On the right is Sandy Shaw, 1960s pop princess and first ever British act to win the Eurovision Song Contest.

We wonder if, by some chance, they might be related?

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‘The Marriage Pledge’ Is A Bit Odd

Over at First Things they’re urging folk to sign some sort of pledge not to perform ‘civil’ marriages.

… we, the undersigned, commit ourselves to disengaging civil and Christian marriage in the performance of our pastoral duties. We will no longer serve as agents of the state in marriage. We will no longer sign government-provided marriage certificates. We will ask couples to seek civil marriage separately from their church-related vows and blessings. We will preside only at those weddings that seek to establish a Christian marriage in accord with the principles ­articulated and lived out from the beginning of the Church’s life.

Please join us in this pledge to separate civil marriage from Christian marriage by adding your name.

But there’s a problem.  It’s an interesting idea but it fails to ask – or answer – one important question: are the signatories refusing to sign marriage licenses too? And if so, then how are the people they marry legally married? And if not, how exactly are they NOT performing civil ceremonies as a marriage license is itself a civil/ government document?  And do they really want people to go through both a Religious and a Civil ceremony?

No thanks.  I don’t sign anything so imprecise and un-thought-through.

Those Californian’s Really Are an Odd Bunch of Pagans and Weirdos

Look at the kind of Churches they build!?!?!?!!  Via Greg Jenks, who is exploring San Diego.



It’s Hard to Lose Your Brother

S.M. Jackson, in an excursus, tells us about Andrew, the youngest brother of Huldrych  who died of the plague in 1520 (on the 18th of November) :

Huldrich_zwingli 8In regard to Andrew, who was apparently the youngest of the family, there is a little more known. He was an inmate of Zwingli’s house in Zurich when the plague broke out in midsummer of 1519. Zwingli was then at Pfaefers, but on his return to Zurich sent Andrew for safety’s sake to his brothers at Wildhaus, where he and his brothers were well when on January 14, 1520 (vii., 109, 110), the abbot of Old St. John’s wrote to Zwingli. Then Zwingli took sick himself. Not knowing the reason for his silence, Andrew wrote the first of the two letters given below, all that remain of their correspondence. As soon as he could, Zwingli transferred him to his (Zwingli’s) unmarried sister’s care at Glarus, and sent him to school there (see Andrew’s second letter). When it seemed safe to do so, Zwingli recalled him to Zurich, but, alas! the lad took the plague and died on November 18, 1520. Zwingli thus announced to his bosom friend, Myconius (vii., 155), the death of this dear brother:

“Zwingli to Myconius. Greeting. I am doubtful whether the evils which befall me (if they are evils), ought to be communicated to you, who are a man of most sympathetic disposition. For I fear that if I do not warn you beforehand you will fall into unrestrained grief, so regardful are you of me. And yet I beseech that you will endure my misfortunes with a calm mind, even as I myself endure them. Because now I endure with equanimity what formerly threw me into spasms of grief and mourning more than feminine, when I was suddenly and unexpectedly overwhelmed with sorrow. Still I recovered myself, so that now once more I stand firm. Thanks be to God! And so do you take it calmly when I tell you of the death of my brother Andrew, a youth of great promise and excellent parts, whom the plague slew on St. Elizabeth day [November 19], envious (I think) of our blood and renown.

Had he lived a year longer he would have come to you [at Lucern] to be instructed by you and your son in Greek. But so far am I from remonstrating with God that I am ready to offer myself. Enough of this.  I am awaiting your letter and those manifold songs recommended by Zimmerman, for which our people here are looking daily.  Farewell, and love me in my bereavement as you are accustomed to do. Except for my loss the plague grows no worse, for I do not know that within a month or so more than four or five have died. I send my good wishes for your wife and children, Zimmerman, the Provisor, and all.

ZURICH, November 25, 1520.
P. S. I am not at home, driven out rather by the persuasions of my friends, than by my own fears of death, and I shall soon return. So you will not wonder that this letter is not sealed in my usual fashion. Francis Zinck greets you.”

zwingli_study3The two letters of Andrew Zwingli (vii., 88, 89), already mentioned, are as follows:

I. “Andrew Zwingli to Huldreich Zwingli. Greeting. I wish you would inform me, my dear brother, how you are; for we do not know whether you are well, since you have written nothing. You said when I came away that the abbot [of Old St. John’s] should soon receive a letter from you; but I see that he has not. What the delay is I do not see. But the abbot seems to me (it is only my inference) to take it hard that you do not write to him more frequently, and that you passed by him when you had been at Pfaefers. You should know that the pestilence is raging here, for seven or eight have died. We are all safe thus far by the will of God. But our brother Nicholas’s servant has died, but not in his house. The abbot and our brothers tell me to send you their greetings; the abbot adds that you are to write to him when your business will allow you. I beg and beseech that you will ever have me commended to you.
“Farewell, and take this in good part. Greet for me your colleagues and your family.
“ANDREW ZWINGLI.  Thursday before the Feast of St. Gall [i. e., October 13], 1519.”

II. “Andrew Zwingli to Huldreich Zwingli. Greeting. A certain incredible tide of joy swept over me, dear brother, on reading your letter, from which I perceive that you are convalescing daily. What more pleasing news could I have than that you are well! For you have deserved so well of me that I cannot render an equivalent. Nevertheless, I shall always be prepared to serve you to the best of my ability with hands and feet. And he shall not see Andrew alive who sees him forgetful of you!

“You write also that I must add some Greek to the Latin, so that I may not forget what I have learned with so much pains. Still I think you know that there is no one here who cares a straw for Greek, except the school-master, and business so distracts him that he has no leisure. You advise me not to go to beasts of this sort. I so approve of the advice you give me in so brotherly a manner that I will no more approach those equine beasts. I will certainly do so and grow wise through painful experience, according to the proverb: ‘A burnt child dreads the fire.’

“As to the books of which you write, you may understand that I received all, both Elmer’s and mine, and he himself gave me the money. You know that I am now well, and that I desire you to inform me how you are. Farewell. The school-master and Hirudæus, Elmer, and my sister tell me to send you greetings. Farewell again and again, bear with me kindly and ever put me among those who are most fond of you.

“GLARUS [November?], 1519.
“You will greet in my name your assistants and your family. Also salute in my behalf most diligently my teacher Myconius, and Luchsinger.

This slight glimpse into the Zwingli family is both wondrous and touching.  It’s the real stuff of history.

1S. Jackson, Huldreich Zwingli: The Reformer of German Switzerland (1484–1531) (pp. 64–65).

Joel Baden and Candida Moss On ‘The Jesus’ Wife Fragment

In the Atlantic they do opine in conclusion (in a fairly hefty essay)

Despite the piles of evidence suggesting that the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife is a forgery, there remains the possibility, however slim, that it is authentic. So the question becomes this: How much historical reconstruction are scholars willing to stake on such narrow grounds? Or, alternatively: Even if the fragment were proved beyond a doubt to be authentic, could one small piece of papyrus really be so important as to fundamentally change our understanding of the past? The problem with reconstructing the distant past is that with so little evidence available, the discovery of even the tiniest pieces can lead to outsize ramifications. It’s a situation ripe for abuse. The more sensationally these sorts of discoveries are reported, the more such abuse we can expect.

And that’s perfectly sensible.  It’s a great essay.  But equally fun is the artwork at the head of the piece:

jesus_engagementThat’s worth the price of admission.

On the other hand, the whole ‘Jesus was married’ cottage industry is absurd for one reason and it sufficient in and of itself: there’s NO EVIDENCE either way.  Speculation is rampant in historical, and especially biblical studies these days.  And I don’t find any of it very helpful.

But I do love fun art.


The Blog of Justin Hagerman

Justin is, as I understand it, a PhD student working at St. Milletus on the Pauline letters with, it seems, a special focus on Hebrews.  He’s just launching out and any interaction with him you can render would be helpful (I suspect).

First, convince him to dump Paul and become a Johannine scholar instead.

Seriously, take a look.  Engage.

More Helpful Hints For Those Attending #SBLaar14

If you’re going to be in San Diego for SBL (or aar) and you want to know where Chris Tilling is, just follow the sink hair.  Yes, that’s right.  If you see something like this:


You’re mere feet away from Chris Tilling.  He is constantly shedding like some kind of diseased cat and as a consequence he leaves a trail of hair wherever he goes.  Usually it’s hard to see on the ground or floor, but when he stops to wash his hands (yes, it’s hand hair) you can see it quite well.  And he’s near!

Just keep your eyes peeled for the telltale signs of a chap who has a giant baldspot, a British accent, a bag of books, a smile if Brueggemann is mentioned, and shedding and you’ve got him.

Quote of the Month

“[I]n Bullinger’s dedicatory epistle to the 1532 Hebrews commentary, addressed to prince Philipp of Hesse, the author rebukes the lenience of those preachers who only wish to please, and do not uncover wickedness. Theirs is “a new mode of teaching, which was unknown to the prophets and apostles.”  Likewise, in the New Testament commentaries the apostle Paul is presented as a role model for preachers, who should not shy back from exposing error and sin.  In a similar vein, the apostles’ proclamation shows that preachers should “not only” bring a message of love and consolation, “but also” correct the wrongs and errors of the people.” – Daniel Timmerman

Bullinger would have plenty to say to today’s people-pleasing-parsons.  None of it complimentary.

Morna Hooker and … Blanche Hunt

I don’t know the celeb. I’ve never even heard of her.

Amazing Lookalike!


On the left is Morna Hooker, Professor Emerita at the University of Cambridge. On the right is Blanche Hunt, a character from Coronation Street, played by Maggie Jones.

We wonder if, by some chance, they might be related?

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Processional Theology

imagesNon a Ninive, 3500 anni fa, né ad Ebla, mille anni prima della civiltà babilonese. No. Purtroppo, ci sono persone convinte — ma davvero convinte — che con una processione si possa scongiurare la piena di un fiume. Un curioso doppiopesismo per cui, se un’inondazione uccide una persona, allora è colpa della cementificazione dell’uomo. Ma se il Po non esonda, allora è certamente opera divina.

So Antonio Lombatti.  I think we should organize a procession to ward off Joel Watts.

Tolstoj als theologischer Denker und Kirchenkritiker

tolstojTolstojs theologische Abhandlungen stehen im Schatten seiner berühmten Romane und sind heute weithin vergessen. Anlässlich des 100. Todestages des Schriftstellers machen die Herausgeber eine Auswahl von ihnen in neuer Übersetzung und teils erstmalig in deutscher Sprache zugänglich. Enthalten sind vollständige Traktate wie »Kirche und Staat«, »Religion und Moral«, »An die Geistlichkeit«, »Das Wesen der christlichen Lehre« sowie einzelne religiöse Briefe, Tagebucheinträge, Aphorismen, Gebete, Gleichnisse und Auszüge aus längeren Schriften.

In einem zweiten Teil werden Tolstojs theologische Entwürfe von Fachleuten aus Theologie, Slavistik und Philosophie neu bewertet und kritisch gewürdigt. Das verbreitete Urteil, dass Tolstoj ein unbegabter Laientheologe gewesen sei, wird ebenso widerlegt wie die gängige Trennung zwischen dem Künstler und dem Moralisten. Kunst und Theologie gehen in Tolstojs OEuvre eine unauflösbare Einheit ein. Der Graf von Jasnaja Poljana erweist sich als ernst zu nehmender theologischer Denker, dessen Konzepte einflussreich waren und ihre Sprengkraft bis heute behalten haben.

The volume was sent by V&R through ISD for review.  And what a volume it is.  Consisting of two major divisions the first of which excerpts from a wide range of Tolstoy’s works and the second a series of analyses of that work.

Accordingly, in the first division excerpts from such things as Beichte, Kirche und Staat, Mein Glaube, Was ist Kunst?, Gebet, Drei Tage and dozens of others are translated afresh from Russian into German.  The publisher has provided the full table of contents and list of authors contributing to the collection in a flipbook available here.

A visit to that link will provide readers with the basic essentials and aims of the book as it also includes the Foreword and the Introduction.  The authors and editors of the volume have done a very fine job of rendering into German what must surely be somewhat difficult Russian.  The sentences are clear and precise and communicate the author’s thought doubtless quite correctly.1

Tolstoy’s work is well enough known, I think, so that it comes as no surprise to many that he was a tremendously gifted and artistic writer. What may not be so familiar, though, is the fact that he was an immensely impressive theological thinker: a man who delved quite deeply into theological themes. Indeed, who has read ‘The Grand Inquisitor’ and not recognized that fact. That fact is displayed in glittering splendor in this collection. Tolstoy writes, for example, in the opening sentence of Die Lehre Christi und die Lehre der Welt2

Nach Christi Lehre zu leben ist schwer.

A small enough fragment and yet large enough to indicate the musicality and preciseness of Tolstoy’s voice.

After the reader makes her or his way through the stunning array of excerpts said reader is treated to an amazing analysis of Tolstoy’s theological ideas. This segment is comprised of three sub-segments: 1- Kernkonzepte; 2- Tolstojs Auseinandersetzung mit der Philosophie und den religiösen Traditionen; and 3- Rezeption und Wirkung der Theologie Tolstojs. Again, a look at the flipbook linked to above will provide the interested reader with all of the details in particular.

As with the first division of the volume, the second too is extremely helpful both in setting Tolstoy in his historical context and with shedding light on his theological conceptions. Conceptions, it has to be said, which are very, very intriguing in numerous aspects. Martin Tamcke’s essay, for example, explains Tolstoy’s connection to Protestant theology and his notion that the Christian life is lived best in love and service to the other.3

The volume is excellent. It only suffers one deficiency, and this is, from my point of view, quite a serious one: it is not yet available in English. It is such a helpful volume for anyone wishing to understand Tolstoy’s thought that it should be available for persons for whom German is not their native language. Theologians and literary critics alike, as well as those who would wish to learn a good portion of theology ought to read the volume. Students of Russian history ought to read the volume. Even Biblical scholars ought to read the volume because, as all great books do, it opens otherwise unopened windows into ways in which the Bible has been understood. Additionally, Biblical scholars are a somewhat territorial group, seldom foraging in other plots of woodland and consequently missing out on a large amount of good ‘food’.

Furthermore it is an exceptionally timely volume, as the criticisms which Tolstoy aimed at the Church of his day are still relevant to our own. His faith was characterized as ‘a churchless religion.’4 simply because he found its practices so problematic. If he had known of Mars Hill or Joel Osteen he might well have exploded in rage.

This book is commendable. This book is exceptional. This book is enjoyable. This book is affordable, because, theologically speaking, it is a pearl of great price. If need be go and sell all the NT Wright that you have and obtain this volume. It will do you far more good than the Bishop’s work can.

Jim West
Quartz Hill School of Theology

1Not knowing Russian I can only speak in broad terms about the quality of the translation
2 P.112.
3 P. 608ff.
4 P.389.

It Has Arrived

zwiPreviously mentioned here.  Tons of great stuff in it and should be great reading on the plane to San Diego.  (And it’s two copies because I get one as a member of the Zwingliverein and one because I contributed a piece).


In Which Harvey Responds to Leithart

Over at First Things, Lincoln Harvey writes

Leithart asks why sport, and not ballet, is a liturgy of creaturely contingency. The answer to his question is relatively straightforward. We need note an important distinction between the two activities: sport is intrinsically competitive; ballet is not.

As I argue in my book, sport is a regulated form of physical play that is specifically designed to produce both winners and losers. Of course, some sporting contests do end up in frustrating ties or sterile dead-heats, but this outcome is never the aim of the game. The players instead want to score more goals than their opponents, to run quicker and jump higher than their rivals, or to win the next tackle or block the next shot. At each and every moment—and also overall—the aim of the game is to win. But things are different with ballet. Ballet is not competitive in this way. It is instead a graceful dance with its own precise steps, regulated gestures, and modeled poses, which combine to create an elegant movement of flowing beauty. Of course, ballet can be made competitive. We need only imagine a panel of judges awarding points on a televised show, or an audition for the leading part in a forthcoming production. But competition is not intrinsic to ballet in the way that it is with sport. It is instead imposed on it from outside. And that’s the vital difference between the two.

And the rest.  Enjoy.

Sometimes, Don’t You Just Feel Like We’re On a Big Ship?

A big ship, that is, of fools?  People, like those Palestinian terrorists and Israeli Settlers who brutalize just as much and ISIS and the never ending gun lust of America and income inequality and on and on it goes.

Sometimes, honestly, I feel like I just want to abandon ship.


Cowardly Barbarism

The Guardian reports

Four Israelis were killed and eight more wounded in a frenzied assault by two Palestinian men on Jewish worshippers praying at a Jerusalem synagogue in the most lethal incident in the city in years.  The two assailants who launched their attack with meat cleavers and a gun during early morning prayers were then killed by police officers in the ensuing gun battle at the scene of the attack.

The deaths occurred as the two men – identified by family members as cousins Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal from the East Jerusalem district of Jabal Mukaber – burst into the Bnei Torah synagogue in Har Nof, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of West Jerusalem.  Witnesses including worshippers, residents and a first-aider who entered the synagogue while the attack was continuing, described a chaotic and bloody scene as police and the attackers engaged in a shootout at the building’s entrance.

Disgusting and evil.  No cause is helped by such brutal inhumanity.

Carl Holladay and … Dick Cheney

Poor Carl…

Amazing Lookalike!


On the left is Carl Holladay, Charles Howard Candler Professor of New Testament Studies at Emory University. On the right is Dick Cheney, former Vice President of the U.S. under George W. Bush and strong supporter of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

We wonder if, by some chance, they might be related?

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Paul Anderson and … Dr. Phil

I’ve always thought so!

Amazing Lookalike!


On the left is Paul Anderson, Professor of Biblical and Quaker Studies at George Fox University. On the right is Dr. Phil McGraw, presenter of the television show Dr. Phil.

We wonder if, by some chance, they might be related?

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