Michael Langlois Interviewed about the Scrolls


Je réponds aux questions du magazine Science & Vie sur les manuscrits de la mer Morte contrefaits.

La nouvelle de manuscrits de la mer Morte contrefaits parmi les collections du Musée de la Bible à Washington est arrivée en France. Le journaliste Thomas Cavaillé-Fol a écrit un article à ce sujet ; j’ai répondu à ses questions, d’autant que j’avais déjà évoqué ces contrefaçons avec lui en 2017.

Vous pouvez retrouver son article ici.

Enjoy! (As the kids say).

COVID-19 and Children: A Fascinating, Peer Reviewed Study That Should Ease the Minds of Many

Read it here, in the journal Pediatrics.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) presents arguably the greatest public health crisis in living memory. One surprising aspect of this pandemic is that children appear to be infected by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, far less frequently than adults and, when infected, typically have mild symptoms, although emerging reports of a novel Kawasaki disease–like multisystem inflammatory syndrome necessitate continued surveillance in pediatric patients. However, a major question remains unanswered: to what extent are children responsible for SARS-CoV-2 transmission? Resolving this issue is central to making informed public health decisions, ranging from how to safely re-open schools, child care facilities, and summer camps down to the precautions needed to obtain a throat culture in an uncooperative child. To date, few published data are available to help guide these decisions.

Read the whole.

‘But Muh Freedum’

I don’t like the government infringing on my freedom. And I will NOT be forced by some government rule to stop at stop signs or traffic lights. And if I want to veer from my lane into other lanes I don’t think the government has the right to tell me that I can’t. And if people are afraid of being hit out on the roads, they should just stay home. Because I have freedom!

And that’s exactly how daft the ‘I don’t have to wear a mask because I’m free’ argument sounds.

The End of the Leipzig Disputation

July 15, 1519 was the last day of the Leipzig Disputation.  Schaff remarks

Luther himself was greatly dissatisfied, and regarded the disputation as a mere waste of time. He made, however, a deep impression upon younger men, and many students left Leipzig for Wittenberg. After all, he was more benefited by the disputation and the controversies growing out of it, than his opponents.

The importance of this theological tournament lies in this: that it marks a progress in Luther’s emancipation from the papal system. Here for the first time he denied the divine right and origin of the papacy, and the infallibility of a general council. Henceforward he had nothing left but the divine Scriptures, his private judgment, and his faith in God who guides the course of history by his own Spirit, through all obstructions by human errors, to a glorious end. The ship of the Reformation was cut from its moorings, and had to fight with the winds and waves of the open sea.

So, what may seem a waste of time to you may be a help to someone else…

The Farce Called the Justice System Strikes Again

The Judge who sent kids to jail because he was getting kickback from the private jails he sent them to has been released from prison… because of COVID-19.

A former Pennsylvania judge involved in a scheme to send children to a for-profit jail in exchange for kickbacks was released from federal prison with six years left on his sentence because of coronavirus concerns, two law enforcement officials with knowledge of the matter told The Associated Press.

Michael Conahan, 68, was sent home from the low-security Federal Correctional Institution in Miami last Friday on a 30-day furlough that could lead to permanent home confinement for the remainder of his sentence, the officials said.

Prison officials had released Conahan in part because he has medical conditions that put him at a high risk for complications if he contracted the disease, according to the law enforcement sources, who were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and did so on condition of anonymity.

If he were Black it wouldn’t matter what pre-existing conditions he had.  He would stay in jail.  There is no justice system in America.  Especially not now.

Nina Burleigh’s Fantastic Review of Mary Trump’s Book

You can read it here.  Amidst it she writes

But the disturbing thesis of the book has gotten less attention so far because it is too complex for a bullet point or a tweet. Mary Trump argues that her uncle has been “institutionalized” his entire life, from his father’s rigid house to military school to the Trump Organization and now the White House. In Washington, he is, for the first time in his life, subject to close scrutiny but still surrounded by enablers who have everything to lose if he is exposed as a fake and a fraud.

“The walls of his very expensive and well-guarded padded cell are starting to disintegrate,” she writes. “The people with access to him are weaker than Donald is, more craven, but just as desperate.”

These desperate people will use whatever means are at their disposal — courts, lawyers, intimidation, loss of employment and even, apparently, prison — to bolster Trump’s increasingly fragile facade. She writes that the president’s own siblings find him odious and ridiculous by turn and that they knew he was unfit for office but still kept quiet — and even tried to silence her in court.

On True Confession

To confess is to acknowledge that of which you are reproached or accused; as those whose consciences were pricked by the preaching of John acknowledged that the case was as he taught. So today those confess their sins who when they hear the word of God are conscience stricken so that they recognize their trouble, and straightway betake themselves to the physician.

Finally, we confess our sins when we inform our neighbor or some learned scholar of our secret guilt, in order that he may join us in asking forgiveness of the Heavenly Father, or may find counsel, as has been said, that will enable us to resist evil thereafter. — Huldrych Zwingli

Preventable Misery

You do realize, don’t you, that ALL this misery, all this economic uncertainty, all this heartache and death could have been avoided had Americans simply put masks on at the beginning of the pandemic.

We are in this mess because of ignorance.  Full stop.  It was all preventable misery.

The SBL Annual Meeting Is Cancelled

Or at least the in person bit.

Due to the serious risks to public health posed by COVID-19, the in-person 2020 Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Literature, scheduled to take place in Boston on 21–24 November, has been cancelled.

We are excited about a new opportunity for SBL and its members. The 2020 Annual Meeting will be all virtual. SBL and AAR together are committed to providing an innovative scholarly exchange so that every paper accepted has an opportunity for presentation. A virtual publishing exhibit hall, too, will provide you opportunities to explore the latest publications and resources and to schedule meetings.

A virtual meeting will create new possibilities. It will widen access for members without funding or resources to attend an in-person meeting, including international members, students, adjunct and contingent faculty, and independent scholars. It will open up possibilities for both synchronous (live) and asynchronous (recorded) participation. It will allow attendees to avoid the inevitable scheduling conflicts that prevent participation in sessions of interest. We are exploring options to allow some presenters to pre-record presentations. SBL members will have the opportunity to archive PDFs of papers and presentation slides to SBL Central. These opportunities are exciting because they will add new forms and platforms for scholarly exchange in the future.

To be sure, there are details to work out for an all-virtual meeting. The meeting will most certainly need to be lengthened to more than four days; time zones will present a challenge for synchronous participation; we need to support participants for whom a virtual meeting will be a physical challenge; we recognize that a digital divide exists that hinders equal access for all as do the responsibilities of childcare; and we are concerned about privacy protections. We are taking all these issues into consideration and are in consultation with members and program unit chairs, as well as our peer organizations that face similar challenges. We will be reaching out very soon to all program session chairs and presenters that were accepted this spring regarding scheduling, presentation options, presentation best practices, and session guidelines. And all members will be hearing as soon as possible about further details for the 2020 Annual Meeting. SBL has prepared an FAQ that will be updated as more details are finalized.

The risks of COVID-19 have been recognized for months by Council and staff. The health and safety of members always comes first. Indeed, beginning in early March, staff became acquainted with technology and best practices, and their contingency planning for the Annual Meeting intensely explored alternatives and evaluated opportunities for a meeting that would support members, publishers, and affiliated organizations (including continuing with an in-person meeting, holding a virtual only meeting, and holding a hybrid in-person/virtual meeting).

For weeks I have wanted to write this but have been constrained by fiduciary responsibilities to you, the members of SBL. SBL and AAR had contracts with twelve hotels and the Hynes Convention Center. Because of the number of agreements and the legal issues involved, we proceeded with care, caution, and patience, as well as respect for our Boston partners today who will be our partners in the future. It was imperative that we did not make a premature decision or announcement, as that would have undermined our efforts. SBL staff has had to engage in conversations and leverage relationships across the city and state. It was a long process that exacted a tremendous toll on Council, but especially upon staff. That process was to ensure SBL reduced financial burdens and legal exposure.

A complication of the size of the concurrent meetings of SBL, AAR, and affiliated organizations is that the financial impact on a city is considerable, and you can appreciate the consequences its cancellation causes. We are grateful to our partners in Boston, but we regret that it adds to the economic burden of the pandemic. There are no winners. So we very much look forward to the 2025 Annual Meeting in Boston.

We heard from many of you who expressed trust and patience, and on behalf of Council and staff I am very grateful.

We look forward to seeing you virtually this year, working with you to plan the best meeting that we are able to produce in the next six months, and using these experiences to pave the way for a future that provides members more opportunities for scholarly exchange and professional development than ever before.


John F. Kutsko
Executive Director

We Have Reached Peak Stupidity

The Texas Rangers must change their name… opines this opinion writer… because the Rangers were ‘agents of white supremacy’.

Never mind that no one on the team is an agent of anything but a game.  And never mind that once you go down the path of obliterating every name connected to some heinous act of the past you will end up without any names at all.  After all, I’m sure someone named James did something awful sometime back.  So, doubtless, did someone named, and I’m not kidding, Karen.

Come on, Karen.  Grow up.  Not everything is an evil remembrance of deeds past.

As the Washington football team finally gives up its racist slur of a name, there is one major sports team that has avoided the spotlight and resisted meaningful engagement with the violent and racist implications of its name. To know the full history of the Texas Rangers is to understand that the team’s name is not so far off from being called the Texas Klansmen.

Karen really wants attention.  I guess she’s going to get it.  But not the good kind.