Happy 66th Birthday, Israel Finkelstein!

Today is Israel’s birthday. He’s an incredibly influential Israeli archaeologist and he has overseen the excavation of most of Israel’s most important sites. Over the years he’s been a great friend and I appreciate his great work. Check out a plethora of posts in celebration of his birth-iversary and a gallery of images:

Happy birthday!

Alister McGrath on Atheism

Alister McGrath thinks that the aggressiveness of the New Atheism is due to “it’s failure in predicting that religion would disappear”. It is one of the ideas he shared at Forum Apologética 2014 (Barcelona, Spain). During his participation in the gathering, we recorded the following interview (see Video at the end of this article).  See more.

Terrible News: Bill Hallo Has Died

Bill Hallo died Friday night, March 27, 2015, having battled ill health with wonderful courage and tenacity for some years. 

A funeral service is scheduled for 1.00 pm, Monday, March 30, at Mishkan Israel, 785 Ridge Road, Hamden, CT.

Via Jack Sasson.  And truly, very terrible news.  May Bill rest in peace.  He was a fantastic scholar.

A notice about W.W. Hallo, the William M. Laffan Professor Emeritus of Assyriology and Babylonian Literature at Yale, is posted at the Lanier Theological Library website, where his scholarly library can now be found: http://www.laniertheologicallibrary.org/william-w-hallo-collection/

Pleasant Dreams from Martin Luther…

In his book responding to Emser Luther writes

Have you never heard the fable about the roaring match between the ass and the lion? When some animals fled at the sound of the ass’s braying, the lion turned to him, saying, “If I didn’t know you are an ass, I myself would have been afraid of you.”

Every day you can see that I am not afraid of those who have more skill and intelligence in one hair than you have in your whole body and soul together, and yet you dare defy me and try to scare me! Thus you really prove that you confuse stupidity with reason and have changed from a man into a goat.

Sweet dreams to you too Martin.

Having Thought About It For Several Decades I’ve Come To The Conclusion…

That until there is an academically run and academically produced tv channel on cable tv that does what Bibledex has done on YouTube, there will only exist marginally accurate (if accurate at all)  programs for public consumption about the Bible.

I wish things had by now turned out otherwise but the heavy handed exploitation of religious texts merely for the sake of sensationalism and profit have rendered even the most outstanding efforts tainted.

So long have these intentional misrepresentations gone on that disabusing the public of even the most patently false absurdities is impossible (which is why, for instance, the Turin Shroud is still deemed authentic by so many).

Scholars have, in the last decade, made a valiant attempt to set things right, emerge from their ivory towers, and engage the public  in its own place.  But, I’m genuinely sorry to say, it’s too little far too late.

Academic biblical studies turned over the key to the city when it allowed Discovery to air naked archaeologists and reality tv producers and mildly talented mostly untalented former tv stars to be he public face and voice of biblical studies.   Consequently until academics take the bull by the horn we can only look forward to more shockingly bad television.

And scholars have only themselves to blame.  You cannot, on one hand, talk about how important accurate scholarship is and, on the other, watch pseudo-scholars take the lead and set the agenda.

Maybe those who come after us will do better and take seriously their duty to the public.  I just hope they don’t curse us too much.  We already have much to answer for.

Pseudo-scholarship By A Pseudo-scholar on the Little Screen

They’ve made Bill O’Reilly’s moronic book on Jesus into a tv special on the NatGeo channel.  That pretty much sums up the seriousness with which you can take that particular pasture of tv land cow manure.

Which goes to show that around this time of year they scrape the bottom of the toilet for filth to feed the uninformed.

The Week That Was: The Over 100 Club

These lands are particularly blessed because they have come in their hundreds and hundreds through the week:

Country Views
United States FlagUnited States 24,577
United Kingdom FlagUnited Kingdom 2,788
Canada FlagCanada 2,253
Germany FlagGermany 1,140
Australia FlagAustralia 957
Netherlands FlagNetherlands 756
Argentina FlagArgentina 578
New Zealand FlagNew Zealand 470
Italy FlagItaly 374
Israel FlagIsrael 344
Switzerland FlagSwitzerland 339
South Korea FlagSouth Korea 323
Hong Kong SAR China FlagHong Kong SAR China 284
South Africa FlagSouth Africa 244
France FlagFrance 220
Brazil FlagBrazil 210
Romania FlagRomania 190
Sweden FlagSweden 157
Norway FlagNorway 149
Denmark FlagDenmark 148
Russia FlagRussia 145
Finland FlagFinland 135