Monthly Archives: November 2015

Offered Without Comment

Because, really, what comment is necessary?


Rats.  It’s fake.

The Myth that Big Time College Sports Are Self Supporting Debunked

People like to say that big time college sports not only pay for themselves but that they actually fund academics.  Uh oh… false.

At Texas A&M University, the president’s proposal to charge all 50,000 students $72 per year to help pay for a $450 million football stadium renovation brought protests.

At Clemson University, the athletic director’s idea to charge all 17,000 students $350 per year to help him keep up with competition brought pushback from student government.

At the University of Kansas, a walk-on golfer’s push to eliminate a $50 fee all 17,000 students paid the increasingly wealthy athletic department brought a strong — and to some students, vindictive — response from administrators.

And at many of America’s largest public universities, athletic departments making millions more every year from surging television contracts, luxury suite sales and endorsements continue to take money from tens of thousands of students who will never set foot in stadiums or arenas.

Students and their parents should be outraged.  It’s a giant sports scam and the ones paying for it are people who don’t give a rip about the foolsball.

Read the whole report.

2015 Advent Seminar Series

If only they had it on youtube…

Newman Research Centre for the Bible and its Reception

Ready or not, yesterday marked the beginning of advent and what better way to take time out and reflect upon this season than joining us for our advent seminar series! Last year we explored the origins of the nativity story, spending time with Matthew and Luke and trying to understand it through their words. This year we will be discovering how that blended story continues to exert its influence throughout history.

So let me cordially invite you to:

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John Calvin: A Companion to His Life and Theology, By Donald K. McKim

This one is good and it belongs on the shelf of every student of historical theology, Church History, Reformation studies, Calvinism, and Calvin studies.  In equal measures of clarity and brevity McKim guides readers through the life of Calvin (in part one) and the thought of Calvin (in part two).

The details of Calvin’s life are ably presented and the first part of the volume is certainly a welcome piece of scholarship, but the true value of the volume lies within the second part where McKim analyzes Calvin’s Institutes, book by book, chapter by chapter, section by section and allows readers who may not have read the entire thing for themselves an entrance into its many profundities.  Indeed, the second half of McKim’s work could have been published as a stand alone work and titled ‘A Primer in the Theology of John Calvin’.

The best thing about the segment is the ease with which McKim boils Calvin’s ideas down to their most basic and distilled form without losing any of the substance.  It’s easy enough to summarize anyone’s notions, but to do so in order that the authentic core is retained is a skill few possess.

McKim doesn’t simply summarize, though.  He also quotes Calvin extensively so that readers are drawn in to a direct encounter with Calvin himself.  The true genius of the volume is that when readers complete it they will want more.

To that end, McKim provides a very good up to date modern bibliography and he also makes this book group friendly by providing study questions.  McKim, in this short but useful work, proves once again that bigger is not necessarily better and in fact the small packages often contain the greatest gifts.

calvThis unique book is an introductory guide to the life and theology of John Calvin (1509-64). Calvin’s theology has been highly significant as a major expression of Protestant theology. Reformed churches throughout the world appropriate Calvin’s theological understandings and find his work provides important insights into Scripture and communicates a vibrant Christian faith. The first part of this book describes events in Calvin’s life that helped shape his major work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. The second part follows the flow of the Institutes and provides a narrative exposition of this major work, with numerous quotations of Calvin’s own words. This enables readers to hear Calvin’s voice as his views are explained. This close reading of Calvin opens the door to further, more thorough Calvin studies.

I commend this treasure to your attention.  Especially if you are unfamiliar with the particulars of Calvin’s life or unsure about some aspect of Calvin’s thought.  Once you are finished with it, follow the trail McKim marks out to further knowledge through the bibliography.  You will certainly not regret the journey.

Memorial Service for John Emerton

St John’s College, Cambridge, has announced that there will be a memorial service for Professor J.A. Emerton at noon on 27th February, 2016.

The Hypocrisy of Planned Parenthood

In an interview on NPR the head of planned parenthood expressed horror at the murder of people at one of their clinics, blithely ignoring the fact that PP murders people in the thousands every single day of the week.

Planned Parenthood will now do everything it can to silence opposition under the premise that opposition provokes violence.  But that’s false.  Opposition to planned parenthood’s activities no more provokes violence than the light from the moon provokes sunburn.

The facts are simple: the perversely wicked man in Colorado who shot up folk at a PP clinic is a depraved murderer.   And, the perversely wicked people who murder children are also murderers.  PP can’t pretend it has clean hands.  It’s hands are far bloodier than anyone else’s.

Those are the facts.

The 2015 SBL Annual Meeting Carnival: All The Best Tweetings

IMG_7244(1)This month’s Carnival is a bit different because there are no links per se (aside from the links provided in the tweets).  Rather, and instead, each day of the month has the best tweet(s) of the day (as decided by my capriciousness and my capriciousness alone) about or from the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature.  I think you’ll enjoy the entries which follow if only to see how the participants at the annual meeting get ramped up for it and then experience it.  And if not, well it’s a rough month for you because this is not just the Avignonian Carnival, it’s the official one too! Bwahahahaha.

[Serious aside] Also, you might find some great tweeters to follow too and I think that’s the authentic reason for this month’s arrangement- because SBL is about connections with scholars and following the right folk on twitter can enlarge your network!)…

[NB]- the format is simple- the handle of the tweeter is followed by their tweet.  Then, in bold, my always salient remarks.

[Finally] – don’t be offended if something sounds offensive. It’s only apparently so.  Probably.  In all likelihood.

IMG_72311- @kecia_ali – Conduct codes for academic conferences would signal expectations of appropriate conduct. #aarsbl15.

I like conduct codes. I especially like the 10 Commandments. Especially the one’s prohibiting stealing, lying, adultery, honoring parents, and keeping Sabbath. #YayConductCodes!

2- @emuehlbe – Restaurants that aren’t in the downtown Atlanta Hyatt, Marriott, or Hilton, but close by? #aarsbl15.

Because we need to know these things!

3– @SBLsite – Student-Scholar luncheon RSVPs are open now: Space is limited. #sblsite #aarsbl15 @SBLStudents.

The grad students have to eat. It’s the free stuff on tables, or digging through the dumpsters for that lot. #TruePoverty. #TossEmAStaleDonut. #SpendingWhatLittleTheyHaveOnBooksAndEnragingTheirSpouses.

4– @SBLsite -Looking for a grant? Stop by the NEH table (208) in the #aarsbl15 exhibit hall to talk with a program officer about opportunities.

Everyone can use them some research money. Of course, SBL is over as you read this, but you can still contact SBL for help. And, just in case you need them

IMG_7266@THATCampAAR – Guidelines on the use of social media for #aarsbl15.

That’s right. AAR is helping you with your social media by telling you how to do it at the annual meeting. #Blessed. #AAR.  #AdultsNotAllowed.

5– @DrMJCWarren – Pretty happy that BOTH of my papers for #aarsbl15 are done!

And I’m sure they will be excellent. Perhaps, though, one day, the SBL and AAR will have enough members submitting papers that they won’t need to depend on one person to do more than one. It’s sad when organizations are so small that they have to depend on very few people to do all the work. Pray for AAR and SBL, that God will bless them with sufficient members so multiple papers are no longer necessary.  And lest you think that SBL/AAR folk only care about papers and such, take note of this tweet

@TheKateWard — #aarsbl15 Petition to move AAR/SBL meetings away from executing states.

States that kill people don’t deserve to have SBL /AAR meetings in them. I wonder, though, does this apply to the International meeting too? Or is it just American exceptionalism?

6– @drmacdonald – I am sure you won’t miss this for the carnival

I have to admit, I am not familiar with Girard. He seems to have been widely admired, though. May he rest in peace.

7– @stepbcrowder – This is the season of #womanist works. I’m next!Thanks @wjkbooks #maternalthought #midrash #bible #womenwriters #womenempowerment #aarsbl15.

And what can one say but ‘yeah womanism’. But that’s the great thing about academia. It’s thoroughly disinterested in labels and all the rot that comes with that sort of thing and is only concerned with one’s scholarship without regard to sex, race, or religion. You’re just as accepted and treasured as a scholar if you’re a white man as you are if you’re a lesbian black or asian woman.

IMG_72528– @jenniferguo – ICYMI: a sesson I’m really excited about at #aarsbl15. last day to get the book on Logos at a huge discount.…

I don’t know about kids these days. Excited about sessions when they should be excited about meeting their idols.

9– @ctschroeder – Does anyone know if there will be free wifi at #aarsbl15? @SBLsite @AARWeb Thanks!

That really is super important to conference attendees. You can see hotel lobbies overflowing with people glued to their laptops and their smartphones because they’re too cheap to pay for wifi in their rooms. And who doesn’t love free wifi. The hotel I was at has it. I won’t stay where there isn’t free wifi. And I’m certain I’m not alone.

10Happy birthday Martin Luther! Now, on to today’s tweet about #aarsbl15.

@ReligionProf – What I’m Telling My Students Luncheon #aarsbl15

This one actually has appeared numerous days (every day really) but it appeared again today so I’m sharing it because evidently if you’re a student this is something you should have gone to otherwise you won’t know how to behave as a student. Maybe, if you’re lucky, you can get a copy of the paper!

IMG_725411Apparently there was a panel at SBL on unprovenanced artifacts and their value for research. So

@ctschroeder – “Does the Provenance of Ancient Artifacts Matter?” Is anyone on this panel going to answer “No”? #aarsbl15.

If anyone does say no, it’s because they work for BAR or for an antiquities dealer.

12– @Targuman – SBL Professional Conduct Policy


13– @RickBrannan – Blogged: Some thoughts on 1Ti 3:2, “Husband of One Wife”.

Fun times!

14#Paris was attacked yesterday and over 120 people were killed. Today the world is reeling from the horror perpetrated by Muslims whom even Muslims despise as inhuman savages. Twitter has been ablaze with essentially that. Except among most biblical scholars, who can scarcely be bothered to look at the world around them.

15The strategy of the 14th continued today. Reminders of receptions filled the twitter timeline. Whew, it’s good to know biblical scholars can still think about food and booze even in the darkest of times. My ‘faith’ in humanity remains unchallenged…

16– @ReligionProf – Magic Bowls at #AARSBL15 in Atlanta

Oh boy! Magic bowls! I hope they have instructions as to how to rid oneself of Joel Watts’s. That’d be super useful. And people say biblical scholarship has no relationship to real life. Piffle.

17– @PurposeofJesus – #aarsbl15 So excited excited to attend the conference and discuss my new book #purposeofjesus Check it out

Because really what are conferences for if not to promote oneself?

18– @mcbalz – how’s this for paper title? Door in an Alien World: the Mythology of Exile and Alienation in the Ascension of Isaiah — too clunky? #aarsbl15.

Now I bet you wish you had attended the Conference don’t you! Next year in Jerusalem!

kim19– @kelly_j_baker – Here’s a sneak peek of all three of my #aarsbl15 papers on the 1920s Klan, the job market, & academic freedom: Three papers.

Again, I hope one day that SBL has enough people to manage to get folk to present so they don’t have to rely on a few people to do all the work.

20Busy At SBL so No Tweets Mentioned of Note

21Busy At SBL so No Tweets Mentioned of Note

22Busy At SBL so No Tweets Mentioned of Note

23Busy At SBL so No Tweets Mentioned of Note

24Busy At SBL so No Tweets Mentioned of Note, but lots of photos posted during the conference so scroll down till you find them. They’re here, you just have to work a bit to get them.

IMG_726825– @jennisifire — Post #aarsbl15 twitter convos are adorable. The immediate nostalgia is heart warming.

Indeed it is. I hope everyone made it home safe and sound. A few takeaways: networking matters and can be pleasant if you weed through the pretenders and associate with authentic people who aren’t simply interested you as a stepping stone. Arrive early and get acclimated. Learn the layout of the venue. Bring a few breakfast bars and eat them in your room before the sessions start each day. Room with someone who knows what soap is. Be polite. Smiling at people won’t kill you. Turn you phone to vibrate. Don’t sleep through sessions. If someone is asleep while you’re giving a paper and afterwards they compliment you, you know them to be insincere. And always remember, the smartest person in the room may not be the one presenting.

26Thanksgiving. Plenty of tweets about food and shopping. None about things of great interest.

27– @DrPaulMiddleton Right, I’ve been awake for more hours than I can count after flying back from Atlanta. It’s finally time for bed. #AARSBL15

Paul is one of my favorite Scottish persons. He knows more about ‘persecution’ in the early church than any human being presently alive. And he’s great to follow on twitter if you love political banter.


28– @heather_barkman Just deleted the #aarsbl15 app so I guess it’s officially time to start thinking about next year.

Right!!!! When will the #aarsbl16 app be ready? That’s what we all want to know.

29– @EBiblicosOnline – Videos y audios en español sobre estudios bíblicos y áreas afines. Este sitio web está inspirado en Biblical Studies Online (en inglés).

Yay!!!! A most welcome addition to the biblical studies universe.



Melanchthon Speaks the Truth


Tim Tebow’s Attitude Towards Sex Isn’t The Problem, His Girlfriend’s Is

I saw this and I have to quote it in full- in connection with reports in the news that Tim Tebow’s girlfriend broke up with him because he wouldn’t engage in sexual activity with her-

Illicit sex is everywhere in our culture. If you are not sexually active you are regarded as a freak. Even among those who supposedly believe in the authority of the Bible and the Lordship of Christ sexual purity is a low priority. Far from being a sin it is no big deal at all. Thus if you are Tim Tebow and the gal you are dating is a former Miss USA and she breaks up with you because you won’t have sex with her you are going to come in for the mocking. I do not think Tebow is a freak. I respect him for thinking it matters. One can long for companionship, even love sex, and honor Christ with our bodies … the Song of Songs needs to ring out in our churches.  — Rachael Valentine

Well said.  Tebow’s attitude isn’t the problem, our culture’s perversity is.

Have You Ever Noticed…

That the Bible, it is claimed, is never ‘clear’ about sexual ethics but somehow or other everyone who has ever seen a Bible sitting on a table knows exactly what the word ‘love’ means every time it’s used and every place it’s used?

Methinks there’s something afoot here besides honest exegesis.

Twitter Theology That Makes Me Sigh

One would hope Jesuits would know the Bible better than the Franciscans…


Because there’s nothing at all ‘hopelessly vague’ either about Romans 1 or Hebrews’ ‘Let the marriage bed be undefiled’.


UPDATE: I’m informed it’s a satire account and the tweet satirical, as though stemming from some wretched senseless hipster.  Good heavens what’s the world come to when Jesuits are satirical?

Twitter Theology That Makes Me Sigh

Look, Marcion is back…


Those who don’t know the history of Christianity are doomed to repeat its heresies.

Total Depravity: The Person Who Buried Her Newborn, Alive

A call came in to the Compton sheriff’s station the day after Thanksgiving: A baby was crying near a riverbed at 136th Street and Slater Avenue. Two sheriff’s deputies who went to the scene around 4 p.m. zeroed in on the muffled cries, according to a news release by Sgt. Marvin Jaramilla of the sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau. Inside a crevice on a bike path along the riverbank, they found a newborn girl, buried under pieces of asphalt and rubble.

Why?  With the sanctuary laws in place just take it to a fire station or a hospital.  Why the inhuman evil cruelty to a baby that has harmed no one?

Because in a society where abortion is on demand, life is cheap and for some, meaningless.

Sheriff’s officials urge parents wishing to surrender their babies to do so at any hospital or fire station in Los Angeles County, no questions asked.

Seriously.  Just because you’re a useless, soulless, inhuman wreck doesn’t mean someone else is.

No One Knew Luther Like Melanchthon



Christliche Stimmen im Advent (1)
In Christus verbunden – Ein Brief Helmut Gollwitzers

Der erste Artikel der Beitragsreihe „Christliche Stimmen im Advent“ gilt dem Pfarrer und Theologieprofessor Helmut Gollwitzer (*29.12.1909 in Pappenheim – ✝17.10.1993 in Berlin). Gollwitzer beteiligte sich aus der Wehrmacht heraus an der Seelsorge für die von der Deportation bedrohten Dahlemer Gemeindeglieder. Im November 1941 schrieb er:

„Meine Gedanken und meine Gebete gehen mit den Euren zu allen, die jetzt von der Gemeinde getrennt sind: sie gehen zu denen, die im Dienst des Krieges stehen im Osten und an den anderen Fronten, sie gehen zu denen, die Advent dieses Jahres in der Abgetrenntheit der Haft erleben, sie gehen zu denen, die aus fernen Ländern zu uns her denken […]

Gollwitzer unterstützte seit 1938 Hilfsaktionen für verfolgte Juden. Auch stand er mit führenden Persönlichkeiten des militärischen Widerstands in Kontakt.

Im Zweiten Weltkrieg diente er als Sanitäter. Die Jahre 1945 bis 1949 verbrachte Gollwitzer in sowjetischer Kriegsgefangenschaft. Nach seiner Heimkehr wurde er Professor für Systematische Theologie in Bonn und an der Freien Universität Berlin. Er war bis zu seinem Tod im Jahr 1993 ein unermüdlicher Träger und Förderer des christlich-jüdischen Dialogs.

Quelle: Brief Gollwitzers vom November 1941
© Evangelisches Zentralarchiv in Berlin, Bestand 686 Nr. 7672


Wo Betide You if Your Church Has a 9 AM Service…

And 11 isn’t much better-


P. Melanchthon on K. Barth


The Coming Of Christ


Along the same lines, if you do not know him, it’s simply because you were not among those he was seeking (as Calvin would put it).

One Government’s Terrorist Is That Same Government’s Ally

Depending completely and solely on whether or not that terrorist / ally sees things as that government does or not.


“The Progress of Prophecy” – The Very Briefest of Reviews

Several months back a friend, or rather now a former friend, gave me a book by Ben Witherington titled ‘The Progress of Prophecy’.  I’ve read it.  I’ve thought about it, and I’ve thought about what I would say about it.

I could think of nothing at all, until I was reading St. Jerome today and hit on this remark (in its context, a review of sorts of some ideas he’d been sent):

“The ship, as the saying goes, is wrecked in harbour.”

And that epitomizes the work.