Monthly Archives: March 2019

Taking Fraud to a Higher Level

Are you too lazy to do your own work?  Did your parents bribe the school you’re at to let you in?  Then by all means, take your cheating to the next level and let these vermin help you use AI to cheat your way through your next paper.  Their algorithm will match your idiotic writing style to an idiot willing to do the writing for you who also writes in your idiotic writing style.

Welcome to depravity.

How Not to Interpret Archaeological Materials

The discovery of an object dated to ‘biblical times’ with a ‘biblical name’ on it is not proof of any historical aspect of the biblical text.  It’s just an item with a name on it that happens to be a name found in the bible.  Nothing more.

And if you insist on following the reasoning of “biblical archaeology” and the discovery of every object with a name found in the bible proves something historical, then you are using circular reasoning and that’s a logical fallacy. A button does not make a suit.

It simply is not proof to say ‘Nathan was named in the bible.  We have an object with the name Nathan on it.  Therefore, we have proof of the biblical narrative that names Nathan.”  It’s circular reasoning and too much that calls itself scholarship is filled with it.

Be skeptical.  Skepticism is the very soul of scholarship because it forces us to ask hard questions in our quest for truth.  And make no mistake, it is a quest for truth that is our object, not the enrichment of a magazine or pseudo-scholars who write rubbish books or star on tv shows.

Signs of the Times

Fun Facts from Church History: When Zwingli Sends a Copy of His Latest Book…

The book [i.e., the Commentary on True and False Religion] came from the press at the end of March, 1525. Zwingli sent a copy to Vadian (March 31) and one to Christoph Schappeler at Memmingen. Ludwig Sigwyn, of Swabia, is known to have had a copy by August 23, 1525; it was probably a gift from the author. Thus the new publication served to propagate Zwinglian doctrine in South Germany. A German edition of 608 octavo pages, translated by Leo Jud, was published in 1526 by Froschauer at Zurich. Professor Walther Köhler, of the University of Zurich, translated part of the Commentary into German and incorporated it in his work, entitled, Ulrich Zwingli, eine Auswahl aus seinen Schriften, Zurich, 1918. — George Warren Richards, The Latin Works of Huldreich Zwingli, vol. 3.

19 and Dead Because he Knocked on the Wrong Door

What a world.

A teen has been shot and killed after knocking on the wrong door, police have said.

Nineteen-year-old Omarian Banks had recently moved to a new apartment building in Georgia, Atlanta. According to police, Banks was dropped off by a taxi at around 12.30am on Friday morning and, as he wasn’t familiar with the area, he went to the wrong apartment.

Etc. What a terrible world.

Fun Facts From Church History: Leo and His Indulgences

SaleOfIndulgencesThe bull of indulgences was issued March 31,1516, and granted the young German prelate [Prince Albrecht of Brandenburg] the right to dispose of pardons throughout the half part of Germany, the period being fixed at 8 years. The bull offered, “complete absolution—plenissimam indulgentiam—and remission of all sins,” sins both of the living and the dead.

A private paper, emanating from Leo and dated two weeks later, April 15, mentions the 10,000 ducats proposed by the Vatican as the price of Albrecht’s confirmation as having been already placed in Leo’s hands.

To enable him to pay the full amount of 30,000 ducats his ecclesiastical dignities had cost, Albrecht borrowed from the Fuggers and, to secure funds, he resorted to a two-years’ tax of two-fifths which he levied on the priests, the convents and other religious institutions of his dioceses. In 1517, “out of regard for his Holiness, the pope, and the salvation and comfort of his people,” Joachim opened his domains to the indulgence-hawkers.

It was his preaching in connection with this bull that won for Tetzel an undying notoriety. Oldecop, writing in 1516, of what he saw, said that people, in their eagerness to secure deliverance from the guilt and penalty of sin and to get their parents and friends out of purgatory, were putting money into the chest all day long.

Make no mistake, though, many Catholics thought this business a disgrace.

Even the Roman Catholic, Paulus, in his book Tetzel, p. 31, goes as far as to speak of “the miserable business which for both Leo and Albrecht was first of all a financial transaction.”

Indulgences weren’t about the souls of the Church, they were about money for the Pope.  The papacy has had many low points in its history- low points that would make the likes of today’s televangelists green with envy.  But this traffic may be among its lowest.

A Seal Which Bears the Name Natan-Melech

Via Joeseph Lauer-

This morning, Sunday, March 31, 2019, the IAA circulated English and Hebrew press releases titled “Who Was ‘Natan-Melech the King’s Servant?’” and announcing that, among other finds, “A seal bearing a name that appears in the Bible was discovered in the City of David.”

The English release (titled “Rare seal bearing biblical name found in City of David excavation”) may also be read at the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs site at As noted in the release, 11 high resolution pictures and English and Hebrew videos (as well as the English and Hebrew releases) may be downloaded at the place in the release stating “Click here for Photos and a Movie Clip:” The English video is 3:09 minutes. The Hebrew video is 2:44-minutes. (The credits that should be noted if the items are used are also in the attached release.)

The pictures, video and releases may also be accessed at

Doubtless BAR will shortly have an essay declaring this to be the seal of the prophet Nathan before the week is out.  Because speculation sells.

Zwingli for The Day

#ICYMI – A Discourse Analysis of Ruth. A Review of a Book I Dislike Immensely

9780310282983_455_600_90Zondervan Academic have sent along this for a looksee-

The Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the Old Testament serves pastors and teachers by providing them with a careful analysis and interpretation of the biblical text, rooted in a study of the Hebrew text of the Old Testament and intended to track the flow of the argument in each book and passage.

The layout of the commentary isn’t the standard fare.  Instead, each pericope is titled, it’s ‘scenes’ are subdivided, the main idea of the passage is offered, the literary context is described, the structure and literary form are shown, extensive flow charts of the sentences and phrases are displayed (think sentence diagram charts), and then, finally, the text is ‘explained’.  Useful informational boxes and sidebars along with charts and graphs festoon the work, some of them resembling computer scroll boxes (I know not why).

After the text is treated, our author generates what he describes as ‘A Dramatic Reading of the Book of Ruth’.  This snippet includes a suggested stage arrangement along with the script of a play with various narrators and actors.  The work concludes with a Scripture Index, a subject Index, and an author Index.

I dislike the volume immensely.  I dislike its girth.  It attempts too much and delivers too little.  It rambles on and on endlessly in such a way that one feels as though one has visited Grandma and she’s talked about 15 disparate topics in an hour and you still have no idea what the point of it all was.  The Book of Ruth is tiny.  It shouldn’t take anyone 200 pages to explain it to modern readers of the Bible.

It’s too busy.  It’s too crowded.  The graphs and their little tiny arrows virtually gouge into the reader’s eyes and by the time a single chapter of the volume has been worked through the reader will be begging those little tiny arrows to bolt from the page and plunge themselves into and through one’s own eyes so that the misery of experiencing the volume is terminated.

There are so many excellent commentaries on Ruth.  Go buy one of them.  This isn’t one.  It isn’t even worth borrowing from the library.  it is infuriating and annoying and spite producing.  I literally hated it like I’ve not hated a book in a very long time.

Avoid this book like the plague it is.

Quote of the Day

It is of no avail that the same walls encompass us if difference of will separate us—since God regards rather unity of mind than of dwelling. Behold, we are a number of individuals under one roof, with different ways of acting, different hearts, different wills: all which one intention and one love of God must weld together in unity. – Hugh of St. Victor

“Fox News, Bad at News, Worse at Geography” – The New Motto of the Network

If Evolution is True…

How is this guy still in the gene pool, and even contributing to it?  Shouldn’t he have been naturally selected right on out?

Sad News: Klaus Koch has Died

Via Jack Sasson-

Klaus Koch died peacefully on March 28, 2019 in his home in Hamburg, Germany.

A leading German scholar on the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Koch is especially known for his work on form-criticism, prophecy, and apocalypticism. For a summary (Laudatio) of his work, see the page of Martin Rösel (both in German).

The Good Old Days… When People Could Pray Imprecatory Prayers the Right Way

When prophets were respected.  Or else…

From there [Elisha] went up to Bethel, and while he was on the road, some small boys came out of the town and jeered at him. ‘Hurry up, baldy!’ they shouted. ‘Come on up, baldy!’ He turned round and looked at them; and he cursed them in the name of Yahweh. And two bears came out of the forest and savaged forty-two of the boys. (2 Ki. 2:23-24)

And that’s how you pray an imprecation!  Elisha, teach me to pray.

giphy (1)

Capitalism Breeds Innovation…

Or so we’re told.  Alas…

Via facebook.

The Doctrine of Election in Reformed Perspective

Frank van der Pol
The Doctrine of Election in Reformed Perspective
Refo500 Academic Studies (R5AS) 51,
ISBN 13: 978-3-525-57070-8

In 11 essays The Doctrine of Election in Reformed Perspective reflect ongoing investigations concerning the doctrine of election, with special focus on the Synod of Dort 1618–19. Important lines of demarcation between different Reformed orthodox groups and denominations find their root divergence, as well as historical concentration point, in relation to this very issue. The ongoing research presented in this collection can open up a fresh field of fertile investigation for theological discussion. Moreover, she may lead to interdisciplinary perspectives and a cooperative approach to research, also beyond the field of theology. For this too is the field of philosophers and historians, those who trace the history of Christianity or are studying early modern Europe.

The volume consists of three sections. In the first Part three essays reflect historical and philosophical issues before the Synod of Dort. Part Two explores aspects of the Synod of Dort itself. The focus in Part Three is on the reception of the Synod of Dort. Finally, the following question is answered: How were the Canons of Dort regarded in the 17th–19th century, and what does the history of their editions tell us?

The editor, Frank van der Pol, was the program leader of the combined research group Early Modern Reformed Theology (EMRT) of the theological universities Apeldoorn and Kampen. In cooperation with the A Lasco Bibliothek Emden the EMRT organized an international conference on Oct. 29 and 30, 2014 about the doctrine of election in reformed perspective. The research group is convinced that the dual line of research on history and theology of the Reformation tradition must continue and be strengthened. On the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the Synod of Dort, the researchers, wanting to do their work in a broader context with a wider dialogue, make their proceedings accessible for more people and institutes by publishing them in this volume.

When people think about the doctrine of election they normally, if they think about it at all, link election with predestination and once they begin down that road, they invariably like predestination with the dual notion of predestination to heaven and predestination to hell (the so-called ‘double decree’).  And that has become, in the popular mind, an idea of Calvin.

But all of that is wrong.  Election and predestination are not the same thing and the double decree has absolutely nothing to do with Calvin but instead with his descendants, the hyper-calvinists.  Indeed, Calvin’s own view of predestination was very reserved.

But of course most ‘YRR’ readers and even more of the general populace are completely oblivious concerning the facts of what they profess to believe.

Hence, we arrive at the present volume.  Here, in eleven essays by as ten authors (see the table of contents in the book description at the link above) set readers on the straight and narrow path of a correct understand of the outgrowth of the doctrine’s examination at the Synod of Dort.

In both German and English, the essays in the book take us from the consequences of Dort’s decisions in the Netherlands to the influence of Melanchthon to the towering figure of Calvin to critically important discussions of election at Dort itself to John Cameron’s Universalism and into the first half of the seventeenth century and then onto Remonstrant views of predestination and even further into the views of Schleiermacher on the doctrine of predestination.  We end with a description of the various incarnations of the Canons of Dort from the 17th through the 19th centuries.

Interestingly written and insightfully so, these essays are a much needed corrective to various popular misunderstandings of the Synod of Dort’s presentation of the important doctrine of Election and the reception history (for lack of a better term) of that doctrine post Dort.

Especially intriguing are the contributions of Selderhuis, de Boer (both of his), van Lieburg, Sinnema, and van der Pol.  They were all first presented as papers at a 2014 Conference at the John a Lasco library in Emden.  A conference, I regret, I was unable to attend.  And that’s one of the reasons why the present work (and those like it) which collect and disseminate Conference papers to a much wider audience are so important both for the guild and for scholars as individuals.

The aim of the editors is to

…stimulate further discussion on both this synod and on the doctrine of election.

I think they have succeeded wonderfully.  If Dort or Election are of interest to you, then I cannot but recommend that you read this volume.

White Liberals are a godless Bunch

In 2010, 42% of white liberals claimed no religious tradition. In 2018, it was 52.5%. Meanwhile, just 8% of white liberals also identify as evangelical Christians and that has remained unchanged for the last decade. — Ryan Burge

This Is How Scholars Ought to Think

“I have made it my priority to become familiar with primary sources, whose reading and analysis has been my greatest pleasure.” — John Barclay

Most don’t.

The Consumerization of Higher Ed Continues, With What Will Be Disastrous Results

What could go wrong as students are viewed more and more as consumers and it is assumed that ‘the customer is always right’?

My prof, for whom I served as a teaching assistant in grad school, told me once ‘if 5 people don’t drop the course by the first test, you’re failing as a Professor.’   I took him at his word.  #LifeGoals

Quote of the Day

ZwingliBullingerDevotionalBook2[The theologians of the Roman Church] did not rightly know man through and through and see how he is nothing but impurity and corruption and filth, so that even what he learns in its purity he puts forth corrupted. For even when through the heavenly Spirit we reach the point of delighting in that which the law commands, then the flesh is so rebellious that we accomplish no good thing.  — Huldrych Zwingli