Category Archives: Uncategorized

On the Anniversary of His Birth…

Fritz Schmidt-Clausing (courtesy Peter Opitz)

I think I’ll mention a scholar who though virtually unknown today outside of very specialized circles, made tremendous contributions to the study of the 16th century, the Reformation, and in particular, to Zwingli studies: Fritz Schmidt-Clausing.

S-C was born on the 25th of October in 1902. He wrote voluminously and contributed both to the critical edition of Zwingli’s works and to Zwingli studies with, primarily, his works on Zwingli’s humor (which I translated a few years back) and Zwingli’s theology of liturgy.

Years back a very fine essay was written in commemoration of S-C and published in the Zeitschrift Zwingliana.

Lest we forget…

More From Zurich in the Lead up to #ICCR2014

They’ve painted Zwingli’s house. It used to be yellow. Now it’s tan.

Around and About in Zurich

Noah, Build That Ark…

It POURED here today- one of our typical Summer pop-up storms.  I was outside mowing (of course, right) and the deluge came before I finished so I sat under the neighbors carport and shot this little video with my iPhone. You can hear it pouring-

Thank You, Jona Lendering

That knower of all things Classical-World was recently in Istanbul and he did me the kindness of picking up a very nice coffee mug.  The photos are via instagram, so the lighting is unusual (because I like fiddling with instagram settings).

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Thanks, Jona, much appreciated!

It’s Hermann Gunkel Day Once More

The earth has circled the sun again one entire time and we’re back to May 23rd- the day we observe the anniversary of the birth of Hermann Gunkel!  Here are a few previous posts. which mention the great man.  And here are some photos-

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Happy Gunkel Day!

Larry has some very astute observations.

Larry Hurtado's Blog

Over the last few months I had more reports of academics being let go by Christian-aligned academic institutions, and for what seem to be very minor differences of view on any one of a variety of relatively minor matters.  These are degree-granting institutions, supposedly committed to academic excellence (or so says their publicity), yet behaving in a paranoid manner toward their own academic staff, because on some matter arising from their scholarly work they say or write something that bothers some high administrator.

These are all also putatively Christian institutions (making as much of this in their publicity as well), which, if anything, actually makes this behavior even more troubling.  Typically, no due process, no hearing, no opportunity to explain or give warrants for the offending action, or to correct allegations made, no fair consideration of matters at all:  Just a dismissal.

And, as I’ve stated, in all the instances…

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Cargill expands significantly my earlier remarks.

XKV8R: The Official Blog of Robert R. Cargill, Ph.D.

Jim West recently posted a rather troubling exposé of a particular scene in the recent The Resurrection Tomb Mystery/The Jesus Discovery documentary. As a side note, it involved an image to which Dr. James Tabor himself publicly scolded Dr. West for publishing, claiming (among other things):

“this is a lie, an absolute untruth”


“It is odd that such a family of that name lived in that building but we made nothing of it other than it was interesting–it is not in the film.” (Emphasis mine).

Apparently, it was NOT a lie (as we shall see below), and (as we shall also see below) Dr. Tabor’s statement that the claim involving Joseph of Arimathea and the mailbox not being “in the film” wasn’t exactly accurate. (Either that, or it was grossly misinformed.)

Jim’s post was interesting to me because it answered a question I had asked during my

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Indeed… academics via press release…

XKV8R: The Official Blog of Robert R. Cargill, Ph.D.

If you can appreciate “circular reasoning,” then you’ll love this latest example of “circular citations,” a process referred to by my colleague Steve Caruso as the “Citation Two-step” or the “Feedback Fox Trot,” but what I call the “Evidentiary reach-around.”

By now, many readers have been following the sensational claims made by Simcha Jacobovici and Dr. James Tabor. The pair claim to have discovered (among other things):

  1. The “Sign of Jonah”
  2. The “earliest christian symbols ever discovered”
  3. The “first christian symbol ever found from first century CE Jerusalem”
  4. The “earliest testimony of faith in the resurrection of Jesus”
  5. The “earliest record of a teaching or saying of Jesus”
  6. An inscription calling on “YHWH to raise up”
  7. And most recently, an “Inscription bearing the name of Jonah”

(see the back cover of The Jesus Discovery for a full list of sensational claims)

Note that none of these claims have been confirmed…

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In Preparation for the Big TV Show…

Some of our biblioblogging colleagues are stocking up at the local Walmart for snacks and stuff so when they watch ‘The Jesus Discovery’ they can satisfy their munchies.  My crack detective team snapped some of them getting supplied.

A New Program at the University of Haifa

It’s a new BA prpgram: RUAḤ-HA-ḤINUCH, The Interdisciplinary Program of the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Haifa. Check it out here (with thanks to Gershon Galil for pointing it out).

This looks to be a fine journal.

Long awaited and much anticipated.

Someone has to combat the lunacy.

XKV8R: The Official Blog of Robert R. Cargill, Ph.D.

Twitter: Because when reason, logic, common sense, facts, evidence, and scholars all say "No," you can always appeal to faith and beg the public to keep the story alive.

Twitter: Because when reason, logic, common sense, facts, evidence, and scholars all say “No,” you can always appeal to faith and beg the public to keep the story alive.

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This Week’s Book Recommendation

A Note On Evangelism

James White is right to observe that ‘What you win them with is what you win them to.’   If we get people in the doors of the church with anything or anyone but Jesus, what we’ve got them in with is what they will care about most.  If evangelism isn’t about Jesus, it isn’t about anything that matters.

Answering Your Letters: My Thoughts On James Tabor

Someone emailed today (and asked that I not mention their name) asking

What do you think about James Tabor?

I first encountered his work a long time back- immediately after the David Koresh fiasco in Waco, Tx.  I was doing some research on American religious groups for a class.  This was, as you’ll recall, back in the early 1990’s.  I came across Tabor’s name in one of the news reports and contacted him with a variety of questions.  He was exceedingly gracious and answered quite fully each of my inquiries.

I followed his work from that point and was especially keen to keep up with his investigations concerning the historical Jesus.  Though I didn’t find many of his arguments persuasive, I appreciated his scholarship.

We met – in Philadelphia I think- at SBL and he was very cordial (as he always has been and always is – even in vehement disagreement).  And I continued to follow his work.  His efforts to translate the Bible into modern parlance and his excavations in Jerusalem were intriguing to me and I appreciated (and still do) his work along those lines.

In the last several years, ever since, it seems, he became engaged in supporting the efforts of Simcha Jacobovici his scholarship has taken a turn towards the inexplicable (at least to me).

I’m not sure why and I don’t want to speculate as to the inner motives of how it is another person makes the choices which they make.

So, in answer to the question ‘what do you think of James Tabor’ I answer ‘I admire his biblical scholarship (when it is based in accurate historical research) and I am absolutely dumbfounded that he has adopted positions vis a vis various archaeological discoveries that are indefensible (in my estimation and in the estimation of many in the field).’  He is a mystery to me.  An enigma.  But folk would be very, very wrong to believe, even for a moment, that I dislike him.  If he wanted to have lunch in Chicago at SBL I’d do it happily.  Whether he feels the same is his concern.  I don’t base my view of others on their view of me.

I don’t hold people’s views against them as people even when I find so many holes in their ideas that the Swiss would wonder that those views weren’t cheese.  I respect him, even while disagreeing with him fundamentally on so many things.

April 1 Used to be New Year’s Day: New Beginnings and a Group Blog Endeavor…

It’s a fact, Jack.  Then it was changed to the 1st of January.  But if you think about it, April 1 makes more sense.

Anyway, since it’s the day of new beginnings I suppose it’s the best day to announce that beginning tomorrow, Monday, April 2, I will be joining Joel Watts at Unsettled Christianity as a member of his group blog.

There, Joel and I and Jeremy Thompson, along with Mark Goodacre and Chris Tilling will blog together- each editing and filtering the posts of the others thus making Unsettled Christianity THE super-mega-awesome-must-read-better-than-all-the-rest-group-blog of all time.

Be sure to check our Unsettled Christianity… at midnight… when my first post there will go live…

[Now see, that’s an April Fool’s tale if ever there was one!]

Erasmus: On Those Who Go On ‘Pilgrimage’

Erasmus writes, in the introduction to his Colloquies-

In the Religious Pilgrimage, I reprehend those who … are mad upon going on Pilgrimage under Pretence of Religion, from whence also now-a-Days Societies are formed.

They who have been at Jerusalem arrogate to themselves the Title of Knights, and call themselves Brothers; and on Palm-Sunday devoutly perform a ridiculous Action, and drag an Ass by a Rope, making themselves at most as mere Asses, as the wooden Ass they drag along.

They also, that have gone on Pilgrimage to Compostella, have imitated them in this. Let these Practices be allow’d, let them be allow’d to gratify the Humours of Men; but it is an unsufferable Thing, that they should make it a Part of Piety.

It is unbelievable. That is, no one should believe it.

XKV8R: The Official Blog of Robert R. Cargill, Ph.D.

The first three words of the newly released The Resurrection Tomb Mystery trailer say all that you need to know: AN UNBELIEVABLE “DISCOVERY”

I couldn’t agree more. (And I see no mention of Jonah anywhere in the trailer…)

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