The Bible Museum Has Some High Profile Defenders

Alex Joffe, an archaeologist and historian, said scholars “loathe the Greens, because they are evangelicals and because they are antiquities collectors, in that order. … The real targets are their conceptions of their faith, the Bible and America.”

Joffe, who has participated in and directed archaeological research in Greece, Israel, Jordan and the United States, said it is indisputable that the artifacts were imported illegally and seemingly intentionally. But he said the broader question that isn’t being discussed sufficiently is who gets to build museums “around the sacralized space of the National Mall.”

“Should a private family create a ‘national museum’ with a religious bent in the secular, religious space of central Washington? If not, why not?” he said. “Or are only approved topics, like the Holocaust and American Indians, as well as ‘art,’ acceptable?”

Joffe believes that the question of who gets to design national (albeit quasi-national), fundamental commemorative spaces is at the root of many of the objections to the museum project at large.

Lawrence Schiffman, professor of Hebrew and Judaic studies at New York University, thinks many people jump the gun to indict a collection and a museum they have yet to experience. “It may be more suspicion that evangelicals are always out to convert everybody,” he said.

Not only does the museum insist it will deal in history rather than evangelization, but Schiffman has observed that many of the periods the museum plans to cover will be from the post-biblical era. “The notion that it’s some kind of church in disguise is not really what they are doing,” he said.

And as damning as a $3 million settlement with the New York Eastern District attorney is, Schiffman, a Dead Sea Scrolls scholar, notes that evaluating antiquities can be very complicated.

“It’s pretty easy to get duped,” he said.

Read the whole piece.

Livestreaming the Dead Sea Scrolls Session At SBL International

This is cool (though take note, the time listed is Berlin local time- 6 hours ahead of US Eastern Time) –

For those unable to join us at International SBL in Berlin, the Qumran session chairs (Jutta Jokiranta, Matthew Goff, Shani Tzoref, and Sidnie White Crawford) have organized for a livestream of the special sessions on “Tracing & Facing Possible Forgeries: Methodology, Ethics, Policies” (August 8, 2017; 9:00am-12:30pm). The live stream will be hosted here on the TWU Dead Sea Scrolls Institute page and facilitated by members of the CSTT Team from the University of Helsinki. Thanks to all who expressed interest in the work and discussion of this meeting from afar. For full program details, see https://goo.gl/y14Q2J

On The Assurance of Salvation: Calvin’s Observation

If we doubt whether Christ has received us into his charge and custody, he obviates this doubt, by freely offering himself as our Shepherd, and declaring that if we hear his voice, we shall be numbered among his sheep. We therefore embrace Christ, thus kindly offered to us and advancing to meet us; and he will number us with his sheep, and preserve us enclosed in his fold.

The ‘Comprehensive Report’ on the Jordan Lead Codices

Jim Davila has it.  He writes

It is lengthy: over 1100 pages, although that includes many images. It addresses the issues that need to be addresed and does so thoughtfully and in great detail. Rather than coming to a final conclusion, Dr. Zinner explores the evidence for what he understands to be the full range of possibilities.

I have read the (long!) introductory sections and the conclusion and have read and skimmed some of the core chapters. That took up most of a day of my vacation. I’m not ready to comment yet, but I will post some comments once I have time to look at it a little more and to digest the material.

I should also note that the Lead Book Centre has published a number of films on the codices. I will respect their wish that the videos not be embedded, but you can go to their YouTube site here to view them.

Background here and many, many links. Cross-file under Fake Metal Codices Watch. I acknowledge that various elements of the current discussion may point to some of the codices being something other than fake, but I remain to be convinced. I will have more to say in due course. In any case, I continue to include this cross-file rubric so that readers can search it to find all my posts on the subject.

I’m definitely not convinced that the codices are either ancient or meaningful.  But I appreciate Jim’s keeping track of the thing.

Fun Stuff Luther Said

luther_glassI would sit still and blithely watch how you, the devil, and your sausages and your tripes vainly fret and torment yourselves, and blubber and writhe, achieving nothing except to make us laugh and make you own case worse. Indeed, I would like to see you say aloud what you write, for if you did, people would gather with chains and bars and out of sympathy would seize and bind you as demoniacs. And if people did not do this, then, perhaps at God’s prompting, oxen and swine would trample you to death with their horns and hoofs.  —  Against Hanswurst

[Luther would say that to Joel Osteen and Paula White too, just FYI].

Today With Zwingli: His Children

zwingliWilliam, Zwingli’s eldest son, born in 1526, after studying in Zurich went to Strassburg to complete his education, but there died of the plague in 1541. Ulrich, born January 6, 1528, who is said to have been the image of his father, studied at Basel, became a clergyman, diakonus in the Great Minster in Zurich in his nineteenth year, professor of Hebrew in 1556, of theology in 1557; he married Bullinger’s daughter Anna. She died of the plague in 1565. Regula, the eldest daughter, born in 1525, who is said to have been the image of her mother, married on August 3, 1541, when in her seventeenth year, Bullinger’s foster-son, Rudolf Gualther, a brilliant man, born in Zurich, November 9, 1519; studied at Basel, Strassburg, Lausanne, and Marburg, and in 1542 became pastor of St. Peter’s in Zurich, and so remained the rest of his life. In 1547 he brought out the first edition of Zwingli’s works, himself translating into Latin all the hitherto untranslated German treatises. He succeeded Bullinger in the office of chief city pastor in 1575. After Regula died of the plague (November 14, 1565), he married Anna, daughter of Thomas Blarer, formerly burgomaster of Constance, Gualther died December 25, 1586. With Zwingli’s son Ulrich the male line of the Reformer died out. Those at present tracing their ancestry to the Reformer’s family do so to a brother in Wildhaus. Zwingli had still a fourth child, a daughter Anna, born in 1530, who died in infancy.*

And that’s the Zwingli family.

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*Huldreich Zwingli: The Reformer of German Switzerland (1484–1531) (pp. 360–361).

Happy Birthday Martin Noth

Martin Noth, famed (and rightly so) Old Testament scholar was born on the 3rd of August, 1902.  Probably best known for his work on the history of Israel, Noth also wrote widely and extensively on nearly every aspect of OT studies.  His commentaries are very good and his study of Israelite names has never, ever been surpassed or supplanted.

As Brittanica notes

In his book Das System der zwölf Stämme Israels (1930; “The Scheme of the Twelve Tribes of Israel”), written when he was just 28, Noth proposed the theory that the unity called Israel did not exist prior to the covenant assembly at Shechem in Canaan (Joshua 24), where, in his view, the tribes, theretofore loosely related through customs and traditions, accepted the worship and the covenant of Yahweh imposed by Joshua. Oral traditions from the various tribes were combined in the Pentateuch after the covenant union, and it was only at the time of Ezra that the traditions were finally written down, often combining different narrative elements into a single tale. Thus, the story of the Passover and that of the Exodus, once separate traditions, were linked in the written books of Moses. The two major narrative traditions, the Jehovistic and Elohistic (so called from the name used for God in each), formed a framework around the other traditional elements. Noth served as professor of theology at the University of Bonn from 1945 to 1965, continuing his studies after his retirement.

Lest we forget…