False Claims Abound

The facts are completely different when you dig through the hype and read how the critical segments are reconstructed readings. These seals have common names on them. They prove nothing and they support no historical reconstruction and worst of all, BAR knows it.

But BAR is about making cash, not disseminating the truth, so enjoy if you enjoy being misled at best and downright deceived at worst.

America. The Nation That Used to Be But is No More

This is who we are now- people who act in violence just because we can. The America planted by our ancestors and meant to be a place of opportunity and liberty is now but a violent killing field where children in school and workers at their jobs and worshippers in their churches are slaughtered.

You were great while you lasted, America. Rest in Peace.

This Is How Evil ICE Can Be

This guy should be imprisoned for all eternity.

Former ICE Chief Counsel Facing Prison Time For Stealing Immigrants’ Identities.

Raphael A. Sanchez, who was chief counsel at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Seattle when he opened credit cards and took out loans using the personal information of vulnerable immigrants, faces sentencing in federal court today.

Put him in prison forever. How deplorable.

Pentebabbleists Really Are Insane- And They Are What Happens When Theology isn’t Moored to Scripture

If Pentebabbleists tied their theology to Revelation, they wouldn’t fall for the insipid ignorance so widespread in their spiritualism.  They certainly wouldn’t say things like this guy has said:

Trump-loving right-wing pastor and rabid conspiracy theorist Carl Gallups appeared on Jim Bakker’s television program yesterday, where he warned that opposition to President Trump is “very demonic.”

“I think that is why there is so much of an attack on Donald Trump in America,” Gallups said. “I think this is very spiritual … and, at some levels, very demonic, a demonic attack.”

Gallups said that “Satan hates” Trump’s support for Israel and so “Satan is raising up antagonism right here in America” against the president.

“A lot of people don’t know it, they think it is all political,” he added. “I think a lot of it is deeply, deeply spiritual. You talk about the deep state? There is a deeper state.”

Later in the broadcast, Bakker urged viewers to support his network, saying that God wants his daily television program to remain on the air because it is not only important to Trump personally but vital to helping Republicans maintain control of Congress in the upcoming midterm elections. Bakker claimed that Trump called him directly after the 2016 election and spent 20 minutes thanking him and telling him that his show “was one of the things that made a big difference in this election.”

“The spirit of Antichrist is trying to destroy all Gospel,” Bakker warned. “Christian television, if the enemy, if the opposition ever gets a hold of this country again; believe me, you have no idea how much this world hates the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

“They hate Trump so bad, I’m afraid they might even have him assassinated,” Bakker said, asking Gallups what will happen “if we have a switch back to an anti-Christ government” in the midterms.

“The light will go out and it will get dark quickly,” Gallups responded.

These people are so ignorant of Scripture that they think darkness is light and evil is good.  Isaiah has something to say to them:

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil;
That put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
That put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  Is 5:20

Wussten Sie, dass die Reformierten lange Zeit für Theater sorgten?

A little collection of essays by our own Peter Opitz has been published by the great folk at TVZ.

Die gesammelten Kolumnen aus dem bref Magazin

  • Überraschendes aus der Reformation
  • Fundiert und humorvoll
  • Die beliebten Kolumnen aus dem bref Magazin

For those unfamiliar with Bref Magazin, it is a periodical focusing on issues of interest to the Reformed community in Switzerland and the wider world.  It commenced in 2016 and has been regularly published since then.

From time to time the very gifted Reformation scholar Peter Opitz has contributed brief pieces to the magazine.  Those are here collected and made available in one convenient place for interested readers.

Each essay is about a page and a half or two pages at the maximum and they cover a variety  of topics from the confusion of Luther with Zwingli in the popular mind to the part women played in the Reformation to laughter as a sign of God’s Spirit to whether or not the Reformed are also ‘Protestant’ to the illustrations of the Froschauer Bibel to Zwingli’s appreciation of music to Zwingli’s Hebrew teacher and many others.

It is wide ranging and informative and delightful and a bright example of scholarship for the masses.

This little 49 page volume with it’s twenty-one ‘Did You Know?’s is the perfect little introduction to Church History questions that are insightful, humorous, witty, and instructive.  If you read it, you will enjoy it.  I promise.

The Bible & Archaeology

Ancient artifacts and the Bible illuminate each other in various ways, but it can be difficult to understand how this process works and how archaeological discoveries should be interpreted. In this book, Matthieu Richelle provides a concise, up-to-date introduction to the relationship between archaeology and the Old and New Testament Scriptures. He shows how historic physical artifacts and the biblical texts illuminate one another—creating a fascinating “dialogue” that sheds light on the meaning of both.  What emerges is a rich and balanced picture that enlivens our understanding of the Bible’s message, increases our appreciation for the historical and cultural contexts in which it was written, and helps us be realistic about the limits of our knowledge. This work is revised and updated from the original French translation.

It’s available here.

Originally published in French in 2012, Richelle’s volume is divided into six chapters:

  1. What Archaeologists Discover
  2. When Stones Speak
  3. The Limits of Archaeology
  4. The Bible and Archaeology: What Kind of Relationship?
  5. A Case Study: The Kingdom of David and Solomon
  6. Archaeology and Writing in the Time of David and Solomon

There are also a list of figures, a foreword, a preface to the English edition, a list of abbreviations, an Introduction, a conclusion, a bibliography, and the much dreaded endnotes, and, finally,  full color illustrations.

As Richelle moves through his material he has one goal in mind: the clear dissemination of those things which archaeology can do and those it cannot do.  This is not an introduction to method, it is an introduction to the limitations of archaeological knowledge, and it is superb.  Though a translation, it is fully revised and in many places expanded, so – at least to me – it is appropriate to call this a wholly new work.  Readers of the original French text will want to read the present rendition as it provides much that the earlier version lacked.

Those familiar with archaeological debates from the past decades will wonder where Richelle fits in the discipline.  Is he a ‘high chronology’ kind of guy or is he a ‘low chronology’ type?  He is, I’m very pleased to say, both, and neither.  Richelle is one of those rare characters in archaeological studies and biblical studies (and the two often overlap) who takes things case by case and decides upon the best evidence where he stands or sits on an issue.

Richelle methodically addresses the central issues of archaeological research:  what are the kinds of things archaeologists discover?  What do these things tell us about daily life in the ancient world?  What sort of written remains exist and what do they tell us, and what do they not tell us?

He also describes, really quite substantively, the limits of data interpretation and the limits inherent in excavations themselves.  But most importantly, at least to me, is his extraordinarily even handed discussion of the relationship of the Bible to archaeology.  Is ‘Biblical Archaeology’ an appropriate field of enquiry or are we already predetermining outcome by use of that label itself?  Is ‘Syro-Palestinian’ archaeology a more appropriate nomenclature?  And just how much should we use the Bible at all in terms of archaeological research?

In the fifth chapter Richelle offers his case study- David and Solomon.  Here he fairly and equitably describes the problem with traditionalist views.  He asks what is really at stake here.  And finally he offers his perspective.

The sixth and final chapter is a bit of a diversion.  Instead of addressing another case study it asks after the problem of literacy in the Davidic/Solomonic periods.  It’s a very intriguing investigation but it feels as though it doesn’t really belong and was added almost as an afterthought.  And I don’t mean that in any sort of negative way.  It just feels like an appendix and not part of the argument of the monograph.  Nonetheless, it is quite valuable, however it sits or why-so-ever it may be there.

The book at hand is the kind of work that every undergraduate course in Biblical Studies should include on its reading list.  It is the sort of work that persons introducing archaeological method should require.  And it is the type of volume that laypeople who have a subscription to Biblical Archaeology Review should read and digest before they look through another issue of that magazine.

In sum, it’s magnificent.

New Stuff From Mohr

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Dohna, Lothar Graf zu / Wetzel, Richard Staupitz, theologischer Lehrer Luthers Neue Quellen – bleibende Erkenntnisse

[Staupitz, Luther’s Theological Teacher. New Sources – Lasting Insights. Published in German.]

Lothar Graf zu Dohna and Richard Wetzel show that Luther’s former mentor and father confessor Johann von Staupitz had a big influence on Luther, not only on his biography, but also on his theology, and so was a key figure in the early Reformation period.

And very exciting:

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Die Septuaginta – Geschichte, Wirkung, Relevanz 6. Internationale Fachtagung veranstaltet von Septuaginta Deutsch (LXX.D), Wuppertal 21.-24. Juli 2016. Hrsg. v. Martin Meiser, Michaela Geiger, Siegfried Kreuzer u. Marcus Sigismund<

[The Septuagint – History, Impact, Relevance. 6 thInternational Conference held by the Septuaginta Deutsch Project (LXX.D), Wuppertal July 21-24, 2016. Published in German.]

The diversity of the Septuagint’s current debates are reflected in this volume, which brings aspects of textual criticism, textual history, philology, theology, reception history, and Jewish identity in the Second Temple period together to provide an up-to-date overview of the latest in international research.

Paul, The First Dialectical Theologian

Luther observes (in his lectures on Galatians)

Paul has a peculiar phraseology—not human, but divine and heavenly. The evangelists and the other apostles do not use it, except for John, who speaks this way from time to time. If Paul had not used this way of speaking first and prescribed it for us in explicit terms, no one even among the saints would have dared use it. It is unprecedented and insolent to say: “I live, I do not live; I am dead, I am not dead; I am a sinner, I am not a sinner; I have the Law, I do not have the Law.” But this phraseology is true in Christ and through Christ.

Dialectical theology in a sentence: “I live, I do not live; I am dead, I am not dead; I am a sinner, I am not a sinner; I have the Law, I do not have the Law.”

Well spotted, Martin.  Well spotted indeed.

Stellenbosch Symposium on the Theology of the Septuagint

Something else I wish a rich benefactor would fly me to… where are you, rich benefactor? Where are you……

Septuaginta &c.

There is a great reason to travel to South Africa for those interested in the Septuagint. The Universities of Rostock and Stellenbosch are joining forces to host a symposium entitled “A Theology of the Septuagint.”

The event will be held from 17 to 19 August 2018 in the Department of Ancient Studies at Stellenbosch University. I am told that this symposium is not open to paper proposals, however delegates are welcome.

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North Carolina, You’re Better Than This. Don’t Support this Monster

A website tied to a candidate for the North Carolina General Assembly says God is a racist white supremacist and that Jews are descended from Satan. Russell Walker is a Republican candidate running for state House District 48 which includes Scotland and Hoke counties. On Tuesday, the North Carolina Republican Party withdrew its support for Walker.

“What is wrong with being a white supremacist? God is a racist and a white supremacist,” the website connected to Walker says.

“Someone or group has to be supreme and that group is the whites of the world … someone or something has to be inferior … In all history in sub-Saharan Africa, no two-story building or a waterproof boat was ever made.”

Walker has authored multiple essays and other articles on the site and has said it belongs to him.

Say no to this miscreant. And don’t cast a single vote for him, ever, for anything.