Bruce Jenner’s Transition: The Final Phase

We all know where Bruce began.  And we all know where he is now.  But what will the final phase of his transition result in?  Through painstaking research I have discovered the answer to that question.  Behold!


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Jodi Magness Speaking at UT on Tuesday, April 28

New Discoveries in the Ancient Village Synagogue at Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee.

Since 2011 Professor Jodi Magness has directed excavations in the ancient village of Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee. The excavations have brought to light the remains of a monumental Late Roman (fifth century CE) synagogue building that is paved with stunning and unique mosaics, including depictions of the biblical hero Samson. In this slide-illustrated lecture, Professor Magness describes these exciting finds, including the discoveries made during the most recent excavation season in summer 2014.

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A Slow Week

The end of term and Summer are always the slowest… it’s heartbreaking…

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Who Really Goes to Hell?

This helpful graphic will help you understand.  There are four categories of hell bound:


1- People I don’t like
2- Bloggers I don’t like
3- More bloggers I don’t like
4- Joel Watts and papists like him

If you fall into one of those categories, sorry, you’re predestined for destruction. Amen and Amen.

Quote of the Day

By Christopher B. Hays-

[Colleges and Universities are] selling credits and degrees, rather than the opportunity to learn.

‘Liked’ 10,000,000,000 times.

I Believe in Vaccination

I especially think pet owners ought to be vaccinated.  They are the typhoid Marys of our day.  Especially the ones what own cats.


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Reading Philo: A Handbook to Philo of Alexandria

Reading Philo: A Handbook to Philo of Alexandria

philoA contemporary of both Jesus and the apostle Paul, Philo was a prolific Jewish theologian, philosopher, and politician — a fascinating, somewhat enigmatic figure — who lived his entire life in Alexandria, Egypt. His many books are important sources for our understanding of ancient Judaism, early Christianity, and the philosophical currents of that time.

Reading Philo is an excellent introductory guide to Philo’s work and significance. The contributors — all well-known experts on Philo of Alexandria — discuss Philo in context, offer methodological considerations (how best to study Philo), and explore Philo’s ongoing relevance and value (why reading him is important). This practical volume will be an indispensable resource for anyone delving into Philo and his world.

Read more about the book in a blog interview with its author, Torrey Seland, on Eerdword.

Torrey Seland has provided readers with one of the best, indeed, the best (that I have seen) introduction to Philo in the English speaking world.  Along with Per Jarle Bekken, Ellen Birnbaum, Peder Borgen, Erkki Koskenniemi, Addele Reinhartz, David Runia, Karl-Gustav Sandelin, and Gregory Sterling, Seland allows readers into the ‘inner sanctum’ of the academic study of Philo in a way that is professional and professorial and nonetheless accessible and comprehensible.

Two of the essays have appeared elsewhere but the remaining nine are all fresh productions.  Chapters include such topics as Seland’s “Philo of Alexandria: An Introduction”, Seland’s Philo as a Citizen: Homo politicus”, Seland’s “Why Study Philo? How?”, Bekken’s “Philo’s Relevance for the Study of the New Testament” and “Philo As A Jew” by Sandelin.

The contents are divided into three major headings which are “Introduction and Motivation”, “Philo of Alexandria in Context”, and “Why and How to Study Philo”.  The sensible organization of the volume is justified and illuminated by the essays within each section.  There is also a bibliography and an index of modern authors and biblical references and ancient sources.  A list of the contributors and their academic affiliations leads off the volume.

Curiously, the chapters are not numbered, they are simply listed.  Students and other users, accordingly, can’t be told ‘today read chapters 4-5 for a quiz tomorrow’.  Instead, they have to be told ‘read Borgen’s essay commencing on page 75 and follow it with Koskenniemi’s piece on pages 102 and following.’

There are plenty of footnotes to delight the researcher and these can safely be set aside by those reading the volume for its main ideas.  The majority, nay, the vast majority of the notes are to further literature or to sources cited in the body of the text.

The most useful segment of the book, and the one which, in my estimation, should be assigned to students first is actually Part III.  Not only is the section Why and How to Study Philo the longest, it is the most interesting (again, at least to this reviewer).  Here potential readers of Philo will be shown why such a study matters and how they can go about doing it in the most profitable way.

In his chapter “Why Study Philo? How?”, Seland offers his readers a general rationale and a specific methodology.  But he also gives practical guidance oh how to read those texts.  Each of Philo’s major writings (the ones students are most likely to encounter) are provided a key to unlock their meaning.  Seland also provides advice concerning editions of Philo he deems the most useful and translations he considers the most accurate.  And he does this not simply for readers of English, but Spanish, German, and French as well.  And, given our social location in the computer age, Seland also gives guidance as to the best websites and computer programs for Philo research.

He concludes this chapter writing

But whatever tools might be presented, it is Philo’s own texts that should be the primary focus (p. 179).

Within that sentence we discover the key to understanding Seland’s present work.  He loves Philo.  And because he does, he wishes others to love him to.  But to love him, they need to encounter and understand him.  Philo isn’t the kind of author one can appreciate before one spends the necessary time reading and digesting his works.

If Philo’s works were all lined up on a shelf and Seland’s volume needed a proper place next to them, it would be best found at the very beginning of the assembly.  It serves Philo research the same way an introductory chapter serves a collection of essays.  Readers can understand fairly well the contents of a book without reading the introduction- but once they read the introduction they really understand the book.

Likewise Philo’s works.  Readers and students may be able to glean something from Philo by diving right in.  But they will really understand Philo if they take advantage of the learning found in this collection.  I can think of no higher praise for an academic volume.

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Nine Years of Zwinglius Redivivus

Apparently it’s my blog-iversary.  Who knew.  Nine years.  It doesn’t seem that long.  And I’ve actually been blogging longer (previously on blogspot but I don’t know how long).  In fact, I think I started blogging a couple of decades ago.  Jim Davila started the fun and Mark Goodacre was next to enter bibliobloggingdom and since Jim’s focus was on Hebrew Bible and such and Mark’s was New Testament and stuff I thought I’d aim wider and do both and more.

Anyway, it’s been a lot of fun.  Here’s to 99 more.


Luther at the Diet of Worms (Pronounced Deet of Vorms)

There are all kinds of things Luther is accused of saying and doing.  One of them is that he nailed 95 theses to a door.  Nope, sorry.  Another is that he said at the Diet ‘Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise’.  Again, nope.  Sounds nice, but nope.  But neither did he sleep where George Washington would later sleep!




Some Church historians are as bad to make things up and pass them on till they take on the air of reality as some Biblical scholars and archaeologists.

If only people would trundle back to the sources… primary sources…  But alas…


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Lucas Cranach the Younger and the Reformation

From our friends in Sachsen-Anhalt

Tagungsband “Lucas Cranach der Jüngere und die Reformation der Bilder” erschienen!

Lucas Cranach der Jüngere stand lange Zeit im Schatten seines berühmten Vaters Lucas Cranach d.Ä. Neueste Forschungsergebnisse in diesem Band zeigen den Sohn nun als künstlerisch innovativen, den umfassenden Wandel im Zeitalter von Reformation und Konfessionalisierung reflektierenden Maler, Grafiker, Geschäftsmann und Politiker.

Anlässlich seines 500. Geburtstages haben internationale Experten im Rahmen eines Symposiums es sich erstmals zur Aufgabe gemacht, ein ebenso umfassendes wie differenziertes Bild vom Leben und Werk des Künstlers zu entwerfen. Der vorliegende Band dokumentiert die Ergebnisse und eröffnet neue Perspektiven auf den innovativen Künstler, Geschäftsmann und Politiker, der mit seinen Porträts, profanen Historien und religiösen Themen sensibel auf die tiefgreifenden Veränderungen seiner Zeit reagierte.

Hg. Elke A. Werner, Anne Eusterschulte, Gunnar Heydenreich
Beiträge von S. Buck, D. Görres, A. Grebe, U. Großmann, C. Hennen, J. Herrschaft, G. Heydenreich, A. Hoppe-Harnoncourt, M. Horky´, U. Lotz-Heumann, K. Kolb, H. Kolind Poulsen, M. Lücke, D. Lücke, u.a.

336 Seiten, 183 Abbildungen überw. in Farbe
21 x 28 cm, gebunden
45,00 €
ISBN: 978-3-7774-2368-5

The Thought Of Returning to Geneva Was Disconcerting to Calvin…

calvinEven if he had resolved to return to the wretched place, Calvin could still write Farel on April 24, 1541,

“My last letters show plainly enough how melancholy my soul was at that time. If therefore they betray something like ill-humor, forgive my unbelieving anxiety, which, as usual, renders me peevish and irritable. Even now, though becoming more collected by degrees, I feel but little ease. Indeed, ashamed as one is to acknowledge it, one is so fond of sighs and tears, that it is, in a certain sense, pleasant not to be altogether free from sorrow.”*

That’s Calvin-speak for ‘I’d rather eat glass than go back, but I gotta… Ugh.’  Who could blame the guy.
*The Life and Times of John Calvin, the Great Reformer (Vol. 1, p. 253).

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It’s Friday, And You Know What That Means…

Yup, it’s time for you to thrust your hand into the good ole ‘grab bag’ of blogging wondrousness and see what you pull out!  And boy will you love it.  I mean you will LOVE it.

But… before you click the link and are taken to paradise, you have to swear, on your honor, that you’ll do what you’re asked to do at the end of the rainbow.

So, ready, set, click!

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Myths of Exile: History and Metaphor in the Hebrew Bible

9781138886896The papers read at the Conference on the subject of the volume’s title are soon to be available in this new book

Myths of Exile challenges the traditional understanding of ‘the Exile’ as a monolithic historical reality and instead provides a critical and comparative assessment of motifs of estrangement and belonging in the Hebrew Bible and related literature. Using selected texts as case-studies, this book demonstrates how tales of exile and return can be described as a common formative narrative in the literature of the ancient Near East, a narrative that has been interpreted and used in various ways depending on the needs and cultural contexts of the interpreting community. Myths of Exile is a critical study which forms the basis for a fresh understanding of these exile myths as identity-building literary phenomena.

The papers were great.  They’re probably even better now that they’ve been polished.

Congratulations to James Crossley on his New Position at St. Mary’s University

Chris Keith writes

I’m very excited to announce that on Sept. 1 of this year James Crossley, co-blogger here at the Jesus Blog, will join the Centre for the Social-Scientific Study of the Bible at St Mary’s University as Professor of Bible and Society.  He will add great strength to our centre and his addition signals the continued growth of Biblical Studies and New Testament at St Mary’s, which in the past three years has seen also the addition of Prof Steve Walton and grown from one New Testament PhD student to ten.  Prof Crossley will be taking on new PhD students and any who are interested in studying with him are encouraged to contact him or me (  Although Prof Crossley will spend most of his time on research and PhD supervision, he will also teach undergraduate courses and courses on the MA in Biblical Studies (due to take its first class in 2016).

Congrats to Jim and to St. Mary’s on what is the academic equivalent of Man United nabbing Manuel Neuer for keeper.