Daily Archives: 19 Jun 2015

Catholics And Their Encyclicals: Let the Hilarious And Utter Disregard Commence

I shall enjoy watching the papists take the church’s teaching on climate change as seriously as they do birth control and abortion.  Catholics in America take the teachings of the magisterium as seriously as Baptists take the Bible- which is to say- they like the parts they like and they completely ignore everything else.

The greatest failing of modern Christianity in all its forms is that Dogma is treated like dogfood.

Breakfast in Hell


The Bizarre Tale of the SBL’s Facebook Presence

If you haven’t been keeping up, the SBL closed down its Facebook page a couple of weeks ago (without really any sensible or cogent explanation at all).  Facebook, though, hates a vacuum so someone put together an ‘unofficial’ page which includes this gem of a remark:


Let’s hope that no one looking to join the Society of Biblical Literature is up to those sorts of shenanigans at the annual meeting.  And let’s also hope that the SBL Executive board gets its act together and re-starts an official page so outsiders don’t think everyone in SBL is akin to Pervo.

[With thanks to Eric ‘The EvilDoer’ Eynkel (or something like that, I can’t be bothered to look now to make sure how to spell his weird Swedish name].

Claremont Conference Grants for PhD Students

Each year the Claremont Annual Philosophy of Religion Conference brings together thinkers from different religions, traditions, and academic disciplines to discuss one particular theme in the fields of Religion, Theology and Philosophy of Religion. The theme of the 37th conference will be Love and Justice: Consonance or Dissonance?. The conference will be held at Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California, on February 19-20, 2016. Speakers will include: Richard Amesbury (Zurich), Anselm Min (Claremont), Arne Grøn (Copenhagen), W. David Hall (Center College), Namsoon Kang (Brite Divinity School), Ulrich Körtner (Vienna); Regina Schwartz (Evanston), Nicholas Wolterstorff (Yale).

The Udo Keller Stiftung Forum Humanum (Hamburg) has generously provided 10 conference grants ($2200 each) to enable doctoral students and new PHDs (not earlier than 2011) to participate in the conference.

Go here for all the details if such a conference is of interest to you.

Rewritten Bible after Fifty Years: Texts, Terms, or Techniques? A Last Dialogue with Geza Vermes

Sidnie White Crawford has uploaded this essay to her Academia.edu page. It’s her contribution to a large volume honoring Geza Vermes. It’s really quite good.

It’s Time To Say It…

If you can’t walk the streets without feeling like you have to be packing a gun, I have to ask- how much faith in God do you really have?  If fear controls you so- do you even believe?  When the Son of Man comes will he find any faith on earth at all?

Luther’s Thoughts on Emser

Look here! Is he not the greatest blasphemer ever known? Who indeed has ever heard more blasphemous, poisonous, hellish, heretical, raging, and nonsensical words than those Emser here pours from his poisonous and hellish mouth and lets stink to heaven? This poor creature spits and sprays his spit at God his Creator so terribly and gruesomely that it is abominable to listen to or speak of.

Evidently Luther had never had the honor of reading anything by Mark Driscoll, Rick Warren, Joyce Meyers, or Beth Moore.  And

  • First, he flees Scripture just as the devil flees the holy cross, and he wants to lead me away from Scripture. This he will not and cannot accomplish, God willing.
  • Second, he lies in such an un-Christian, shameful, and wilful manner; he imposes errors upon me which he himself invents and which he could invent in sufficient number to write about unto eternity. From this I notice that it was not his intention to write against my teaching. Instead, he only wanted to do penance for his lust by blaspheming and lying.
  • Third, he freely admits that I attack neither the articles of faith nor Scripture. I am very grateful for this since I have never asked for a greater honor and prize, even from my best friends or God himself, than this one given to me by my deadliest enemy himself.
  • Fourth, he admits that his cause stands outside Scripture and depends only on human teaching and usage and that he wants to draw me into it. I have never in all my writings sought more, and still do not seek more, from the pope and all my enemies than their confession that their cause is not founded on Scripture.

It’s worth pointing out that – interestingly – advocates of same sex marriage follow the same track as Emser and wish to argue for their position from the basis of anything and everything but Scripture. Wise is the one who isn’t drawn into the trap. If we have no common ground in scripture with those whom we debate, there can be no debate at all. Or said differently, if Scripture isn’t the foundation of our beliefs, then what are we debating about at all?

I Think the Charleston Church Shooter May Not Enjoy Prison Very Much…

But I think he will be very, very, very ‘popular’.


He Sounds Like Bloggers I Know Who Talk About Books They’ve Never Read…

Blogger Who Wrote Scathing Post On ‘Laudato Si’ Considering Reading Encyclical For Himself. Catholic blogger Dermot McHenry, who wrote a scornful attack on Laudato Si yesterday, reported this morning that he was now about ready to consider actually reading the encyclical for himself. “The thing is like 180 pages long or something like that,” McHenry told EOTT. “And since I’m not a big fan of Francis or the whole global warming thing, or reading long posts, I thought the best thing to do was to simply read what other commentators were saying and to eloquently regurgitate what I read, form a nice little narrative that would make my readers happy, and then to post it with a bunch of bold words everywhere.”

Yup- just like bloggers I know who talk about Bultmann or Barth, or Wright for that matter.

Archaeologists have not discovered an ‘Ancient Coin of the Canaanite Realm’

I don’t tell George how much I appreciate him hardly enough. And I do. For reasons just like this and many others.

With Meagre Powers

A recent news report has claimed that archaeologists have found an ‘Ancient Coin of the Canaanite Realm’.

It’s a small metal object, oval in shape, dated to approximately the 14th century BC. You can see a nice photo of it HERE. According to the news report, it…

…bears the image of a scarab, a venerated symbol in ancient Egypt that was often used for official seals.

But there are two major things wrong with all of this.

First, there was no such thing as ‘The Canaanite Realm’. There were a number Canaanite city states in the Late Bronze Age (1550–1200 BC), and each had its own king/mayor. All of them were under the colonial authority of Egypt at the time, as the Amarna Letters indicate. They are a series of tablets discovered at Tell el-Amarna in Egypt dating predominantly to the time of Pharaoh Akhenaton (the ‘heretic’ Pharaoh), and show correspondence between the…

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Dear Attendees at SBL in Atlanta this November…

The Economist has this advice for foreign visitors re: guns- and it’s worth passing along (with thanks to David ‘The Mustachioed’ Creech on the twitter for it)


Why Two Monitors Works So Well

In a picture- which is, they say, worth 1000 words-


Zwingli’s text is on the left and my transcription is on the right.  The transcription will then be translated once I’ve finished transcribing.  Fun times.  And much easier on two monitors than it would be on one.  Glory.

[NB- the text hasn’t been translated into English before and will appear, in due course, published by the Kessler Collection at Pitts Theological Library.]

At Zurich’s First Reformed University

Philip Schaff writes

A theological college, called Carolinum, was established from the funds of the Great Minster, and opened June 19, 1525. It consisted of the collegium humanitatis, for the study of the ancient languages, philosophy and mathematics, and the Carolinum proper, for the study of the Holy Scriptures, which were explained in daily lectures, and popularized by the pastors for the benefit of the congregation. This was called prophesying (1 Cor. 14:1). Zwingli wrote a tract on Christian education (1526). He organized this school of the prophets, and explained in it several books of the Old Testament, according to the Septuagint. He recommended eminent scholars to professorships. Among the earliest teachers were Ceporin, Pellican, Myconius, Collin, Megander, and Bibliander.

To Zwingli Zurich owes its theological and literary reputation. The Carolinum secured an educated ministry, and occupied an influential position in the development of theological science and literature till the nineteenth century, when it was superseded by the organization of a full university.

At the opening of the sessions each day this is what they prayed:

Omnipotens sempiterne et misericors Deus, cuius verbum est lucerna pedibus nostris et lumen semitarum nostrarum, aperi et illumina mentes nostras ut oracula tua pure et sancte intelligamus et in illud quod recte intellexerimus transformemur, quo maiestati tuae nulla ex parte displiceamus: per Jesum Christum dominum nostrum. Amen.

It’s what we should pray too when we study Scripture either alone or together.

Should you wish to know more about the Prophezei and its importance in the life of the Zurich Reformation, this essay by Martin Brecht, Die Reform des Wittenberger Horengottesdienstes und die Entstehung der Zürcher Prophezei is delightful and extremely informative. It begins as follows-

Vor einigen Jahren fragte ich einige Zwingliforscher, unter ihnen den Jubilar, wie sie sich die Entstehung der «Prophezei», der kursorischen Bibelerklärung durch Zwingli und seine Mitarbeiter im Zürcher Großmünster, erklärten. Mir war nämlich aufgefallen, daß die Prophezei erstaunliche Ähnlichkeit mit einer Wittenberger Gottesdienstform aufwies. Die Antworten, die ich erhielt, fielen recht vage aus. Ähnlich verhält es sich mit den Äußerungen in der Literatur. Die Einleitungen zu den die Prophezei betreffenden Passagen in «Huldreich Zwingiis Sämtlichen Werken» erwähnen das Problem überhaupt nicht.

Von der Lutherstatue bis zum Lutherfilm: Ein Vierteljahrhundert Lutherrezeption in Ungarn (1983-2008)

A very interesting essay for those of you who enjoy Reformation History- especially in the more obscure corners of the world.  The essay appeared in 2008 but it’s still worth your time.

Racism’s Radical Terrorists

For Dylann Roof’s friends, talk of sparking a race war or wanting segregation reinstated was nothing new.  But then again, they didn’t think he was serious. After all, they had known him for years. “He never said the n-word, he never made racial slurs, he never targeted a specific black person,” his roommate Joey Meek told ABC News. “He never did any of that, so it was just pretty much a shock.”

It’s hard to believe that since his facebook page had a picture of him wearing racist insignia. Indeed, the fact that another friend of his contradicts the notion that he didn’t make racist comments puts that to the lie:

Mullins said Roof occasionally made racist comments, although he had black friends. “They were just racist slurs in a sense,” he said. “He would say it just as a joke. … I never took it seriously, but now that he shed his other side, so maybe they should have been taken more seriously.”

And who gave him the gun?  Why his daddy, of course…  Who now bears the weight of the knowledge that he facilitated the murder of 9 people.

It’s called the law of unintended consequences.  Give an unstable racist kid a gun and you have just potentially signed the death warrant of people you don’t even know.

Equally important is the fact that these race warriors are no different than ISIS or the Taliban.  They are our own home grown terrorists.

UPDATE: Now CNN is reporting

Dylann Roof confessed to authorities to shooting and killing nine people this week at a historically black Charleston, South Carolina, church, two law enforcement officials said. One of the officials said that Roof, who is white, told investigators that he wanted to start a race war. Roof himself bought the .45-caliber handgun used in the shooting at a Charleston gun store, officials said.

So his dad didn’t buy it after all (but if the kid didn’t have a job, how did he get the money?  Someone enabled him).