Stupid Historical Claims For The Christmas Season

Oh this is a real gem… with thanks to Roberta Mazza for pointing out the link-

A fragment of bone claimed to be from St Nicholas – the 4th-Century saintly inspiration for Father Christmas – has been radio carbon tested by the University of Oxford. The test has found that the relic does date from the time of St Nicholas, who is believed to have died about 343 AD.

While not providing proof that this is from the saint, it has been confirmed as authentically from that era.
The Oxford team says these are the first tests carried out on the bones. Relics of St Nicholas, who died in modern-day Turkey, have been kept in the crypt of a church in Bari in Italy since the 11th Century.

It’s proof of nothing. Absolutely noting.  You folk in the media need to stop pandering to the lowest common denominator of stupidity just for a putative connection to some Christmas theme.

This Is Why I Literally Hate it When the Media Discusses Some New ‘Find’ Related to the Bible…

The utter ineptitude and bloated idiotic exaggerated claims… are infuriating.

First, the moronic misleading headline-

Ancient copy of Jesus’s secret papyrus teachings to his brother discovered

‘Jesus secret papyrus teachings’ – nope. ‘To his brother’ – nope. ‘Discovered’ – nope. The apocryphal text has been known for ages. It isn’t a secret papyrus teachings (whatever the Sheol that’s supposed to be) of Jesus.

And then it gets dumb-

Biblical scholars have discovered the first-known copy of a heretical text, which is thought to hold the secret teachings of Jesus to his brother James. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found the manuscript at Oxford University.

Who exactly thinks it actually contains anything Jesus actually taught? Anyone? Anyone reputable?

The writings are on a small piece of papyrus and are thought to be part of the Apocalypse of James, a book of the Bible that was banned by Emperor Constantine and was not part of the New Testament released in 367AD by Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria.

We’ve known about the Apocalypse of James for a long time. But it was never a ‘book of the Bible’ (you idiots) and the New Testament wasn’t ‘released in 367 AD’ (you feckless imbeciles).

And then it just gets boring-

The text was part of the The Nag Hammadi Library —a collection of 13 Coptic Gnostic books that were first discovered in Egypt more than 70 years ago in 1945. The codices were reportedly hidden in a jar in the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi around 1,400 years ago and can be traced back to a time between the 2nd and 6th century CE.

Old news.

Unlike the rest of the documents, the fragments recently discovered were not written in Coptic but in Greek.

Meaningless.

“This new discovery is significant in part because it demonstrates that Christians were still reading and studying extra-canonical writings long after Christian leaders deemed them heretical,” Geoffrey Smith, an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Texas at Austin and one of the two scholars who made the discovery, told Newsweek.

It demonstrates no such thing. What it shows is that someone had a copy of something that was so irrelevant that there aren’t any copies like it around. That shows that people were NOT reading it, not that they were. If it had been wildly popular there probably would have been numerous copies of it found through the centuries and not just one copy stuffed away in a library where it had long ago been discovered and deemed so meaningless that it was shoved away and forgotten. They didn’t find this in some desert. They found it at an impressive University library.  They didn’t ‘discover’ anything.  They rediscovered something that someone had seen long ago.

And then we’re back to stupid-

The ancient document reportedly describes secret teachings Jesus shared with his brother James, and includes information about the heavenly realm and future events, including James’ inevitable death. “The text supplements the biblical account of Jesus’ life and ministry by allowing us access to conversations that purportedly took place between Jesus and his brother, James — secret teachings that allowed James to be a good teacher after Jesus’ death,” Smith said.

No it doesn’t. It makes crap up and tells stories that would have been listened to by few and believed by even fewer. Making this sort of thing the cornerstone of some sort of reconstruction of the early Church is like archaeologists finding a scrap of a book by Paula White 500 years from now and reconstructing 21st century Christianity on the basis of it. It makes a suit out of a button.

And now we’re back to utter silliness-

For many, the suggestion that James was a blood relative of Jesus is a matter of debate. In 2002, archaeologists discovered a 2,000-year-old ossuary or “bone box” with Aramaic inscriptions that translated to: “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”.

Ugh. Not that garbage again.

If proved to be true, this would be the first-of-its-kind of evidence to indicate that Jesus has siblings. “The New Testament says nothing about Mary being a perpetual virgin, it says she virginally conceived Jesus, and it certainly implies that she went on to have more children after that, and his brothers and sisters are in fact his brothers and sisters,” Ben Witherington, a professor of New Testament Interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary, had earlier told CNN in 2015.

Ugh… make it stop, God. Make. It. Stop.

Oh Please, Just Stop It

Dr Michael Banner, Dean of Trinity College Chapel at the University of Cambridge, said the inclusive approach adopted by the CofE had a biblical approach.

Maybe they mean ‘basis’, because ‘approach’ makes no sense.  Anyway-

Delivering the Thought for the Day on the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme, he said ‘the books of the Bible, from which the church takes its inspiration and teaching, themselves challenge the stereotypes and negative attitudes which have led us to exclude from fellowship those whom we judge outsiders’.

Citing a story from the biblical book of Acts where one of the disciples meets a foreign eunuch, Banner points out the disciples baptised him despite numerous barriers.

‘He is a foreigner, for starters. He is a treasurer, so a man who handles filthy lucre on a daily basis. And surely worst of all, he is a eunuch – and of eunuchs, the book of Deuteronomy decrees, “they may not enter the assembly of the Lord”. As to what he was wearing, the book of Acts is silent, but it could have been a tutu and a tiara since none of this bothers Philip – and Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him,’ he said.

I promise you, he wasn’t wearing either a tutu or a tiara.  Neither would have been the attire of a government official.  ‘It could have been’… No, it couldn’t.

And here’s the quite ignorant bit

‘His baptizing a foreign financier of uncertain gender status, holds out to us an inclusive vision of community – a vision to which schools, Christian schools above all, should surely aspire.’

‘Uncertain gender status’?  What absurdity.  Being a eunuch had NOTHING to do with gender status.  It had to do with keeping guys away from the harem so that any kids born would clearly be born from the monarch’s seed.  Period.  That’s it.  The eunuch wasn’t a transgender person.  He wasn’t a gay rights activist.  He wasn’t a representative of the ancient LGBTQIA mnop movement.  He was a guy with his bits cut off so he couldn’t have children with the womenfolk belonging to the king.

The lengths to which people, even supposedly learned people, will go to haul the Bible in to support their pet agendas is appalling.  And idiotic.  If you aren’t going to be honest with the Bible, leave. It. Alone.

I Am Extremely Unimpressed

This volume… which seems so promising… is an absolute disappointment.  And that’s before even opening it and merely reading the table of contents.

How on earth can you have a volume on the Reformation which includes primary sources and completely ignores Zwingli? That’s like having a volume on math and leaving out a discussion of addition.  It is literally incomprehensible, inexcusable, and unforgivable.

Christmas is Coming…

That can only mean one thing: pretty soon someone is going to announce the ‘discovery’ of a ‘text’ that will ‘shake the foundations of Christian faith’.

Can’t wait to see what it is this year?  I’m all tingly.  Will it be another ‘manuscript’ published by HTR which describes Jesus’s marriage to his sister or will it come in the form of a grave which contains the ‘body of Jesus and his entire family!’

I just can’t wait!

I Like Billy Graham, But His Kids Are Insane

Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of evangelist Billy Graham, warned on her “Giving You Jesus” blog on Aug. 7 that the upcoming solar eclipse may be God’s judgment on America.

Wut?

Lotz did not mention any of scientific explanations for the solar eclipse, but did cite a Bible verse, Joel 2:31, specifically written for Israelites 2,000 years ago: “The sun will be turned to darkness…before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”

Wut? Does she not know the difference between prophetic utterance and natural event?

Lotz went on to warn that the eclipse, which affects all countries, might be a judgment for the U.S.:

How, exactly?

For the first time in almost 100 years, a total solar eclipse will be seen from coast to coast in our nation. People are preparing to mark this significant event with viewing parties at exclusive prime sites. The celebratory nature regarding the eclipse brings to my mind the Babylonian King Belshazzar who threw a drunken feast the night the Medes and Persians crept under the city gate. While Belshazzar and his friends partied, they were oblivious to the impending danger. Belshazzar wound up dead the next day, and the Babylonian empire was destroyed. Jewish rabbi’s have historically viewed solar eclipses as warnings from God to Gentile nations. Therefore, my perspective on the upcoming phenomenon is not celebratory. While no one can know for sure if judgment is coming on America, it does seem that God is signaling us about something. Time will tell what that something is.

Ugh. She’s a reprehensible exegete and worse theologian. Billy, you’re great, but your kids aren’t you, clearly.

The End Time Loons Are at it, Again

Take note–  lunacy.

Will the 2017 solar eclipse cause a secret planet called ‘Nibiru’ to destroy Earth next month?

…David Meade, author of ‘Planet X – The 2017 Arrival’, asserts the planet Nibiru (also known as Planet X) will crash into our own on 23 September 2017.

…33 days after the US’ total solar eclipse – on the 23 September – the stars will align just as the book of Revelation says they will before the world ends. This, Meade points out, “is indeed an amazing omen and a frightful sign.”

Etc….

The Bee Stings the Ridiculous Interpretations of Revelation

In a groundbreaking discovery sure to change the future of eschatological studies, scholars revealed Monday that the autograph of the book of Revelation originally included a detailed end times and rapture chart to help readers make sense of the apocalyptic literature.

Archaeologists working on the island of Patmos recently uncovered the original autograph of the book and found the intricate chart detailing the church age, pre-tribulation rapture of the church, seven-year period of turmoil, and subsequent millennial reign of Christ. The chart also featured detailed descriptions of each of the twenty-one dispensations of history, scholars confirmed.

“This is an exciting discovery,” lead archaeologist Dr. Wendell Holmes told reporters. “End-times charts have become a popular past-time of the church over the past century, and now we know there is solid biblical warrant for their existence.”

Holmes further stated that the find confirmed that the futurist, premillennial framework for interpreting the book of Revelation is the correct one, much to the delight of modern end times prophecy experts like John Hagee, David Jeremiah, and Hal Lindsey.

At publishing time, scholars had also confirmed the discovery of the Apostle John’s rudimentary, parchment-based prophecy blog, on which he posted constant prophecy updates predicting the Lord Jesus would return by 1988.

It’s funny because there are people who really think like that.

Nope

Ok people, look…  There hasn’t been anyone in the Hebrew Bible ‘confirmed’ by archaeology.  What’s happened is that names found in the Bible have also, on occasion, been found in the archaeological record.  To suggest that ‘Moses’, for example, has been ‘confirmed’ because a sherd has the name ‘Moses’ on it is both disingenuous and misleading.  Moses was probably not the only guy named Moses and Joshua was probably not the only guy named Joshua.  Etc.

BAR needs to be honest here, because their claim is just fake news.  The people of the Bible haven’t been confirmed.  Names have been confirmed to have existed.  That’s it.  Period.

Those ‘Lead Codices’ That Margaret Barker Keeps Pushing? Jordan has Disavowed Them

AMMAN — The Department of Antiquities (DoA) on Thursday announced that the lead codices it seized with the help of security authorities around seven years ago have not been proven to be authentic so far, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

DoA Director General Monther Jamhawi said that a national team of researchers and specialists scanned the area of the alleged cave where the codices were allegedly found but did not find any relevance between the codices and the cave, particularly as no cavities in the cave’s walls were found.

The department described the findings of British scientist David Elkington as baseless, stressing that the cave was not found and the pictures he has have nothing to do with the cave that was visited, which indicates that his insistence on the originality of the codices is groundless and not credible.

With a lot more from the esteemed Jim Davila.  It’s time for Margaret to ‘let it go’.

Dale Martin May be From Yale, But He’s Dead Wrong

Dale Martin rejects the idea that there is a “correct” way to interpret Biblical passages. That might make some Christians uncomfortable, but Martin says the idea of unequivocal Biblical interpretation is a relatively new concept and not reflective of the religion’s long history.

There is in fact a correct way to read Scripture.  Do you know who hasn’t believed that in the history of Christianity?  Every heretic and heterodox.

“You never think about reading a poem, looking only for what the poet was trying to say,” Martin told WUOT’s Brandon Hollingsworth. “You can’t listen to the Moonlight Sonata and think there’s only one meaning of that music. So we’ve kind of crippled ourselves when we think that’s what we’re supposed to do with the Bible.”

Apples and oranges, Dale.  Apples and oranges.  Scripture isn’t a sonata nor is it a poem.  It’s authors had an intent that was quite specific and to suggest otherwise is the path that has been taken by every person who has ever twisted Scripture to meet their own agenda.

In that sense, meaning comes not from the Bible’s written words, but from the readers – something Martin says is already creating a cultural shift in the way believers worship, cultivate values and practice their faith.

Poor Dale.  Still riding the coattails of reader-response criticism.  But it died a terrible death at the same time that semiotics did.

Dale used to be smart.  I’m sure at some level he still is.  But he has imbibed too deeply of his pet hermeneutic and he’s lost the plot.  I hope he recovers.