James MacDonald Ought to Be In Jail

Chicago radio personality, Mancow Muller, says disgraced megachurch pastor, James MacDonald, asked him to find a hitman to kill someone. MacDonald’s former bodyguard is making a similar claim. 

Muller said MacDonald— a celebrity pastor who was fired from Harvest Bible Chapel in February—asked him at least twice in 2018 if Muller knew a hitman MacDonald could hire. Muller said he thought MacDonald was joking at first. But during a conversation in December, Muller said it became clear to him that MacDonald was “really serious“.

So why hasn’t he been arrested?

When You Keep Your Dig Secret for Political Reasons…

Politics have trumped science.  But that’s par for the course in Israel.

Israel is not obligated to release information about archaeological digs in the West Bank, the Supreme Court ruled last week, rejecting an appeal by two nongovernmental organizations.  The decision upholds both the state’s position and a lower court ruling. The state had argued that releasing the names of the archaeologists carrying out the digs would make them vulnerable to academic boycotts.  It also argued that releasing the location of the digs could undermine Israel’s position in future diplomatic negotiations.

So they will keep digs secret to safeguard academics participating in them from adverse publicity.  And to allow Israel to pretend it is neutrally involved in the West Bank in future negotiations.

Political considerations are determining archaeological practices.

The Church in the Genevan Confession of John Calvin

calvin_bookWhile there is one only Church of Jesus Christ, we always acknowledge that necessity requires companies of the faithful to be distributed in different places. Of these assemblies each one is called Church.

But in as much as all companies do not assemble in the name of our Lord, but rather to blaspheme and pollute him by their sacrilegious deeds, we believe that the proper mark by which rightly to discern the Church of Jesus Christ is that his holy gospel be purely and faithfully preached, proclaimed, heard, and kept, that his sacraments be properly administered, even if there be some imperfections and faults, as there always will be among men.

On the other hand, where the Gospel is not declared, heard, and received, there we do not acknowledge the form of the Church. Hence the churches governed by the ordinances of the pope are rather synagogues of the devil than Christian churches.*

Bam!  Take that, Francis!  And Pentebabbleists!  And Emergents!

*Calvin: Theological Treatises (p. 31).

SBL Early Registration Deadline Looms

SBL emails-

The last chance to take advantage of the Super Saver Registration rates for the SBL Annual Meeting 2019 is Thursday, May 23. If you haven’t registered for the SBL Annual Meeting 2019 yet, the Super Saver registration rates are in effect through the end of the day (11:59 pm Eastern Time), Thursday, May 23. After this day they will increase an additional $50 so please to make sure to register with this link. You will need your SBL Membership number and a valid Mastercard, Visa, or American Express credit card available when you register. Also, to receive the SBL member discounted rate you MUST log in to the SBL page too. Log in information is located on the left side of the page. If you do not log in, you’ll only see non-member and affiliate rates, which are much higher.

I won’t be in San Diego (although it’s a lovely city) because I will be lecturing in Hong Kong in October.  I will, though, be in Boston.  And I think I’m going to go solo in 2020.  Let’s see what a room by myself is like.

Have fun this year.  See you next time.

Foolish Academics and their Even More Foolish Anachronisms

It’s common these days to see academic people who fancy themselves ‘enlightened’ and ‘postmosdern’ using ancient texts from different ‘worlds’ in order to mock or demonize ancient perspectives.  They point their gnarled fingers at ancient texts and deride them and the worldview they evince in an utterly decontexualized way, demonizing ancients by use of modern ‘standards’, and doing it all simply to make a political/ ideological point intended to make said academics appear more enlightened than the ancients he has foolishly judged by modern standards. It’s called anachronism. And certain foolish academics love to be anachronistic and apply anachronistic standards to texts that if they were truly academically insightful they would treat sympathetically and fairly.

They mock the practices and procedures of ancient peoples and they make fun of those ‘unenlightened’ buffoons for having pre-scientific ideas before science was invented.  Such inept academics are fools.  And that’s the kindest thing that can be said of them.

If you can’t be fair with ancient ideas, and the viewpoints of ancient texts, don’t pretend to be a scholar.  You’re really nothing but an ax grinding fool.

Conference Announcement

The 4th Annual Conference of the RIAB Minerva Center, which will be held next week, May 27-29, 2019.

In addition, please note the new publication series of the RIAB Minerva Center, published by Mohr Siebeck, including details of the first volume of the series, which will be out in August 2019, proceedings of the 1st annual conference of the center.

Research on Israel and Aram: Autonomy, Independence and Related Issues: Proceedings of the First Annual RIAB Center Conference, Leipzig, June 2016

Research on Israel and Aram in Biblical Times I Edited by Angelika Berlejung and Aren M. Maeir. This congress volume of the Minerva Center for the Relations between Israel and Aram in Biblical Times combines theoretical approaches to historical research on autonomy or independence in ancient cultures and then presents articles which study the subject using Aram and Israel in antiquity as examples. These articles show clearly how strongly Syria and Palestine were linked to one another and how they constituted one single cultural region which was connected by its economy, politics, language, religion, and culture.

Luther’s Philosophy of Spanking Children

“One shouldn’t whip children too hard. My father once whipped me so severely that I ran away from him, and he was worried that he might not win me back again. I wouldn’t like to strike my little Hans very much, lest he should become shy and hate me. I know nothing that would give me greater sorrow. God acts like this [for he says], ‘I’ll chastise you, my children, but through another—through Satan or the world—but if you cry out and run to me, I’ll rescue you and raise you up again.’ For God doesn’t want us to hate him.” — Martin Luther

It’s ‘Mecklenburg Declaration’ Day

The claim is that The “Mecklenburg Declaration,” was proclaimed by the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians of North Carolina, May 20, 1775.  Unfortunately, it’s bogus.

The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence is the name given to a document that was allegedly produced on 20 May 1775, when the residents of Mecklenburg County declared themselves “free and independent people.” The so-called declaration did not surface until 1819, 44 years after the event, when it was published in the Raleigh Register at the behest of U.S. senator Nathaniel Macon. The original document was supposedly destroyed in a fire in 1800, and the published text was reconstructed from memory by John McKnitt Alexander and given to Macon by his son, William Alexander. William Polk, the son of the organizer of the Charlotte meeting, gathered testimony from several elderly men who claimed to have been present. Mecklenburgers immediately started celebrating the date.

The authenticity of the document was not seriously questioned until the posthumous publication of the works of Thomas Jefferson in 1829. In a letter of 9 July 1819 to John Adams, Jefferson dismissed the Mecklenburg Declaration as a hoax. The North Carolina legislature in 1830-31 was so aroused by this development that it established a committee to investigate. As committee chairman Thomas G. Polk organized the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the Mecklenburg Declaration, it is not surprising that his committee gathered evidence to support the contention that the declaration was authentic.

Despite North Carolina’s efforts, a number of scholars outside the state maintained that the Mecklenburg document was a fraud. The ultimate scholarly blow came in 1907 with the publication of William Henry Hoyt’s The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence: A Study of Evidence Showing That the Alleged Declaration of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, on May 20th, 1775, Is Spurious.

Journalists then, as (by and large) now, are terrible historians.

Origen Was An Unhinged Lunatic

As Jerome remarks to a friend,

It is impossible that you should hold the opinion of Origen, Priscillian, and other heretics that it is for deeds done in a former life that souls are confined in earthly and mortal bodies.

You have to be a loon to think that deeds in a previous life (as though there were such a thing) is what ‘dooms’ people to human-ness.  Origen was a real unhinged madman who knew virtually nothing of authentic, orthodox, Christian faith.

How does he have admirers?