Daily Archives: 22 Jun 2015

Oh… It Must Be One of Paul’s Lost Letters…

Those wiley ‘Galations’…


In ‘Galations”, as I understand it (I’ve never seen it but I think Simcha is going to publish it with NatGeo), Paul tells the ‘Galations’ that he would prefer they get circumcision reversal surgery so they can be more Greek and that he also wishes they would just be a whole lot nicer to their neighbors the ‘Galatians’ to whom Paul wrote another letter and which we have preserved for us in the New Testament.

Speaking of the ‘Galations’, I once saw a tee-shirt which cited Paul’s letter to them.  ‘Galations’… because do words even really matter?

30 Minutes Into the Lecture on Barth and Isenheim…

Here’s some of the stuff we’ve seen:

You still have an hour to tune in and watch the fun.  Karlfried Froehlich is great fun.

Barth and the Arts

A Vacation for Grünewald: On Karl Barth’s Vexed Relationship with Visual Art – mentioned during this evening’s lecture at #KBC2015.

Tune In Now

6/22- 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Lecture, Karlfried Froehlich—“Karl Barth and the Isenheim Altarpiece” (Auditorium)


Finally, something from Princeton I’d like to watch!

BibleWorks 10: The NETS Version

The NETS version is the New English Translation of the Septuagint.  This translation has been widely feted and its inclusion in BW10 is clearly a welcome edition.

When I’m working with a translation I like to compare it or test it or check it in relationship to the original underlying text because, as we all know, translations aren’t always accurate or even good.  Think of the New International Version or the even worse ‘Living Bible’ (which is neither Living, nor Bible, nor even translation).

Setting up a parallel version to use in BW wasn’t exactly the easiest process.  The ‘help’ instructions aren’t always helpful.  Here’s the results if one searches the help file for ‘parallel versions’ (which seems to me the natural place to start when one is looking for setup instructions):


So- not exactly the most helpful screen.  But going down the list one discovers the appropriate term:


And that’s just what’s needed.  Then, one can simply set up the versions one wishes to examine in parallel:


Once that’s all set up, comparing the NETS with other versions and translations is as easy as pie.  And to select a passage one need do so in one window:


And then on the left panel simply choosing to synchronize the two:


It really is quite a useful resource, the NETS.  But setting things up to view it in parallel can be frustrating if one doesn’t know the exact phrase which the programmers have set as the term to which the program will respond.

Indeed, that may well be the only shortcoming or weakness of the program.  One has to, at times, try to think like a programmer.  What’s plain and common to them may not be to you and as a result you may find yourself wandering around in the giant forest which is the program becoming ever more frustrated until, by chance, you find a breadcrumb which leads you out (or straight to the house of the witch who devours).

Computer programs which manage so many materials and which must therefore be rather complex are great when they work easily and can be absolutely indispensable.  On the other hand, when they are difficult to use or when it is hard to find just the right phrase to search in order to get them to do what you need it to do, it can me mind numbingly infuriating.

BibleWorks manages to keep ‘help’ manageable.  But sometimes, just barely.

[NB – I’m sure I’m the only person who uses bible software who doesn’t have at hand all the computer lingo common enough amongst the masses as to make my difficulties finding procedural steps laughable.  Nonetheless, reviews of such software are by their very nature personal].

The review series of which this is a small part is located here.

Karl Barth’s Mistress Was Buried With Him



Facebook Is Dead Here in The South

Thanks, South Carolina and your racist flag.


Good News From South Carolina

Big news – when the confederate flag is removed racism will be abolished. Just like when one cancer cell is excised the whole body is healed.  Because treating the symptom always cures the disease….

Size Matters


Via Margit Ernst-Habib

You’re Not ‘Too Fat For Prison’

A 30-stone motorist who killed a jogger – but claimed she was too fat for prison – has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Linda Ann Jenns, 49, knocked down Paul Stinton after jumping a red light in her Ford Kuga in Kent. A jury found her guilty of causing the death of the 45-year-old father of four by dangerous driving.

Her barrister, Ian Bridge, urged a judge not to jail “grossly overweight, morbidly obese” Jenns because she would not be able to cope with life behind bars. But Judge Heather Norton ignored the mitigation and passed a jail sentence at Canterbury Crown Court.

Mr Bridge said Jenns had a stroke seven years ago and was receiving treatment for her weight problem at the time of the crash.


What irresponsible rubbish.  If you can fit in a car and kill a man, you can fit in any prison cell Britain has to offer.  Take ownership of your own life choices and stop trying to blame everyone and everything else.

Birds of a Feather… Flock Together… And the Republican Flock is Just Getting Creepier and Creepier

The head of a right-wing group that has been linked to Dylann Roof, the suspect in the murders of nine people in a Charleston, South Carolina church has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republican presidential candidates, according to media reports.

The Guardian was the first to report donations to GOP presidential hopefuls Sen. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum by Earl Holt III, who is listed as president of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC).

Cruz told the New York Times on Sunday night that he would be returning $8,500 donated by Holt.

A spokesperson for Paul, a senator from Kentucky, did not respond to requests for comment on the donations, according to The Times and The Guardian. Matthew Beynon, a spokesman for Santorum, said in an email to The Guardian that “Senator Santorum does not condone or respect racist or hateful comments of any kind.”

I believe these politicians when they say they don’t know all their donors.  How could they.  The problem is that somehow or other these racist nutbag loons find in the Republican candidates just the sort of people that they can support with their dollars….  That’s creepy.

If I were running for office and discovered that after my speeches a lot of really horrible racist people were sending my campaign money it would generate a LOT of sleepless nights.  “What am I doing or saying that they find a point of contact with their own views such that they agree with me enough to support me?  And how do they think I might support them?”

Creepy, Repubs.  You might want to think about what you’re doing.  Seriously.  Birds of a feather… flock together.  Look around and see who is sitting in your nest.  Because, just like momma said (she never did, really), ‘You show me who your friends are and I’ll show you who you are”.

America’s Fixation on Celebrity Has Plumbed a New Depth

Apparently someone called Taylor Swift is big in pop music.  [Big deal].  And apparently Apple wants to start its own streaming business for music.  [Again, big deal].  And apparently, Apple was going to let people listen for 90 days for free.  And apparently, Taylor Swift thought this a bad idea and wanted artists to be paid without having to wait 90 days.  That seems fair enough, but it isn’t a crisis.

So Mrs. Swift (is she Jonathan’s wife?) tweeted her displeasure at Apple and Apple has agreed to pay artists on time.

Here’s the new depth: Swift is now being touted as a ‘problem solver’ and people around the interweb are asking if there are other ‘problems’ she might solve, like the Greek debt crisis.

Might I suggest a contrarian viewpoint?  Swift is at best a mildly talented singer (certainly she’s no Mozart.  She’s not even PDQ Bach) who is famous in the same way that the Kardashians are famous.  She hasn’t solved a ‘problem’ and she lacks the intellect to solve any real problems.

Americans and their fixation on people in the spotlight because they can spew words out of their mouths at a certain pitch have become really profoundly absurd.

Entertainers, of every genre, are clowns.  And they’re clowns because – like the clowns of old – they distract the crowd and provide a break from the drudgery of life (sometimes).  But a good bathroom break can achieve the same.

If you want to expand your mind, read a book.  If you want to take a mental break, listen to music.  Music, and theatre, and film, and all the rest are populated not by messiahs but by clowns.

Perspective, America.  Perspective.

What’s The Core of the Pope’s Theology in Laudato Si?

It isn’t God- it’s humanity.  The National Catholic Register has put together a word cloud of the Pontiff’s latest encyclical and, as they say, a picture is worth 1000 words.  Humans come first, then the world, then God, then life, and then the rest, except sin… which I can’t even find in the cloud.


Coming Soon, Part Two

jehleAnlässlich des 75. Geburtstags von Frank Jehle haben Adrian Schenker und Marianne Jehle-Wildberger bereits publizierte, aber auch bisher unveröffentlichte Artikel und Vorträge aus den letzten zwanzig Jahren zusammengetragen und thematisch geordnet. Entstanden ist so ein Band, in dem die Frage nach Gott und nach dem christlichen Glauben omnipräsent ist. In den Texten Frank Jehles geht es um Themen der Bibel, der Christentums- und Theologiegeschichte, der Systematischen Theologie und dabei insbesondere um Karl Barth, die Ökumenische Theologie und um Fragen der Ethik. Frank Jehle ermöglicht der Leserin und dem Leser dabei immer wieder erfrischend unkonventionelle Zugänge zu teils traditionellen Themen und greift aktuelle gesellschaftliche Diskussionen wie die um die Sterbehilfe oder um Wirtschaftsethik auf. Vor allem aber finden sich viele Beiträge, die sich mit Sinnfragen heutiger Menschen auseinandersetzen und die neue Zugänge zu alten biblischen Texten und zu aktuellen theologischen Deutungen eröffnen.

Needless to say…

Coming Soon From TVZ

A New Biography of Huldrych Zwingli by Peter Opitz and TVZ

opitz_zwingliUlrich Zwingli (1484–1531) ist nicht nur der Reformator Zürichs und der Vater der Schweizer Reformation: Trotz seiner kurzen, dafür aber überaus bewegten Wirkungszeit kann er mit Fug und Recht als Wegbereiter und Pionier des weltweiten reformierten Protestantismus bezeichnet werden. Sein Name wird denn auch oft genannt – gelesen hingegen werden seine Schriften eher selten.

Die allgemein verständliche und reich illustrierte Biografie des Zwingli-Forschers Peter Opitz zeichnet auf knappem Raum das Denken und Wirken des Zürcher Reformators in den Konflikten seiner Zeit nach. Sie erhellt, welche theologischen Grundüberzeugungen Zwinglis Handeln in der Kirche wie innerhalb der Eidgenossenschaft prägten. Das Buch eignet sich für Lesende mit und ohne Vorwissen gleichermassen: Die anschauliche Biografie vermittelt auf aktuellem Forschungsstand ein lebendiges und zugleich wissenschaftlich fundiertes Bild des Reformators. Nicht viele der gängigen, mit Zwinglis Namen verbundenen Vorstellungen bleiben dabei übrig.

Needless to say…

Bad, Sad News

A seven-month-old baby girl has died in a bizarre tragedy in Cambodia.  The baby girl was at Cambodia’s Mekong River with her family when Chea Sophia, the little girl’s aunt, caught a fish. Sophia dangled the fish in front of the little girl who laughed loudly as the fish wriggled about. Sophia continued to entertain the baby girl with the fish. Suddenly the frightened fish began wriggling so vigorously that it slipped from Sophia’s hand and flopped into the baby’s mouth, reports the Daily Mail.

Note to self- keep fish away from tiny children’s faces.  Horrific and sad.

An Open Letter to Publishers of Biblical Studies Stuff

Dear Publishers,

Might I humbly request that when you publish biblical studies materials by scholars that you

  • respond to email in a timely manner.
  • inform your authors as the process moves along at each step.
  • meet your own deadlines
  • refrain from foot-dragging
  • be punctual
  • be punctual

and finally



Sincerely and on behalf of every scholar who has ever suffered the insufferable mind numbing frustration of working with publishers who are more concerned about God only knows what than producing volumes in a timely and punctual manner.


The Discussions in The Germanic Lands About The Old Testament Continue

Streit um das Alte Testament
Christentum ohne Wurzel?

An den anstössigen Thesen eines protestantischen Theologen hat sich eine Debatte entzündet: Soll das Alte Testament weiterhin zu den Texten gehören, die für den christlichen Glauben verbindlich sind?

What’s old is new again.  Origen has appeared in the guise of Emergent universalism and Marcion has shown up in the person of Notger Slenczka.

Before long Arius will show up.  And the Docetists and Luciferians and wretched Manichees and Nestorians.  Because there’s no heresy the church has seen or will see these days that it didn’t see, and dispatch, centuries and centuries ago.

An Amazing Discovery at Kabri: An Inscribed Pot!!!!

And you won’t believe whose name is on it!!!!

chrisWOW!  I never thought I would see ‘West’ in an inscription on a pot from a dig at Kabri from the 10th century.  My relatives go way back!

From the 2015 Karl Barth Conference: The Heresy of Universalism

This unsurprising tweet-


Moltmann suffers from the same disbelief and fearfulness that drove Origen and that drives emergents like Rob Bell and his kindrid spirits in these times of our own.  That disbelief stems from the notion that God can’t be trusted to choose rightly between those who belong to him and those who don’t- so the choice is forced on God.

The problem with this inadequate theology is that it makes God less than God.  God needs to save everyone because, the universalists believe, love is the only attribute of God that matters.  They forget justice, righteousness, and most of all, freedom.

God is free to do whatever he wants.  The universalists need to read (probably for the first time) Job 38ff where God confronts Job and informs him, in no uncertain terms, that Job has no idea how the universe should be run, or how it is run.

But the unis (that’s what I call them, the unis) insist that God is only love.  And that his love wouldn’t allow him to punish anyone forever.  Besides, he’s already punished Jesus.  (Which makes no sense really because if everyone is saved by fiat then by fiat sins can be atoned).  Nonetheless what the unis forget (or don’t know) is that some people don’t want to have anything to do with God.  That being with God, in the presence of God, for eternity, is to them the most odious hell possible.  The unis can’t conceive of anyone having the freedom to reject God.

Universalism is, accordingly, simple determinism.  It negates both the freedom of God and the freedom of people.  It determines the actions and decisions of God whether or not God wishes to enact them and it makes people the slaves of someone else’s choice.

This has nothing of Christianity in it and it has no part in Christianity.  Because it is the enslavement of all, including God.  If the unis want to bow to a god they’ve made in their own imaginations who is powerless and nothing more than the slave of a choice his followers believe he should make because they dislike the notion of eternal suffering, so be it.  Such a slave god is not to my liking.  Because God is no slave.