The Problem of Consciousness, Part I

Sometimes philosophy begins by asking what seems to be a dumb question, that is, by questioning what seems so obvious that it has never been questioned. For example: “Why is the sky dark at night?” Isn’t the obvious answer that the sky is dark after sunset? No, as has been realized during the last century, the light from all the billions of stars in the universe does not fade away; it just bounces around. That’s because of the law of the conservation of energy: energy can be neither created nor d … [Read more...]

Thoughts on Infinity and Suchlike on a Slow Day

Having apparently had a ministroke on the I-5 in the sophisticated metropolis of Fife last Friday, as a result of which I totaled our minivan by rear-ending the pickup in front of me, I am further behind on blogging than I want to be. So for today I’m going to assemble some fragments, in no particular order, that I intend to expand upon later. Also, my students are taking their final exam on Written Analysis at the moment. I. Trying to visualize how the Divine organizes what he/she/they know … [Read more...]

The Queen Who Is Hidden in the Gospels, Part IV

In Part III of this series, I pointed out that Mk (The Gospel According to Mark) is not a simple reporting of unadorned facts, but is instead a carefully constructed literary masterpiece. That Mark constructed his gospel carefully was actually known in antiquity. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon, in his Detection and Refutation of Knowledge Falsely So Called (still one of the most important sources of information about the “Gnostics,” since Irenaeus had the good sense not to set forth a straw-man arg … [Read more...]

The Queen Who Is Hidden in the Gospels, Part III

 As I discussed in the previous blog, that rather humorous passage about the Queen of Heaven in Jeremiah. . . but Kate Gladstone chides me for not knowing that that passage is not in the current calendar of haftarot. Perhaps it may have been back then, but . . . Anyway, “Queen of Heaven” was a title used for many goddesses in the Hellenistic world. Could there still have been any genuine belief in a Queen of Heaven in the Judea of Jesus’ time? Any awareness of Her as still being Yahweh’s wife and … [Read more...]

The Queen Who Is Hidden in the Gospels, Part II

At the end of Part I, I asked, Would the people in Jesus’ time have known who the Queen of Heaven was? Yes, they certainly would have, but to see why, we must look at how the state religion of the Kingdom of Judah (which therefore came to be called Judaism) was founded and at the career of the prophet Jeremiah. The full history of the founding of Judaism can become a very long story, which I will save for another time. Here I want to touch upon only the details relevant for answering that q … [Read more...]

The Queen Who Is Hidden in the Gospels, Part I

I discovered Her by accident. Given my predilection for Goddesses since age 14, I obviously hope She is truly there, but I think (or at least hope) that I can be objective enough not to engage in special pleading or distort the evidence.The birth of my oldest daughter Maeve Adair in January 1973 forced me to begin growing up a little more. A few months later, Alta asked me, as we were sitting at a red light in Berkeley, if I had thought more about the possibility of going to the Graduate … [Read more...]

Grateful Thoughts for Peter Dybing

I am quite grateful for Peter Dybing’s praise for my writing in a comment he left a day or so ago. Considering his immense service to Paganism and to humanity in general, and the stage of (current) burnout he has reached because of (I assume) rampant ingratitude, I find his goodwill toward me very special. His focusing on how I “process” in my writing, rather than merely present conclusions, seemed, well, unexpected; at least, “process” was not a term that would have occurred to me, but I think I … [Read more...]

25 Random Facts About Me

Rummaging around in my directory of raw materials for possible blogs, I came across the following, posted as a note on Facebook about four years ago, inone of my very rare responses to a game request. (Often I unfriend the requesrer for wasting my time.) I had fun with this and it previewed several topics I've since written about. So enjoy.1. Starting at UC Berkeley at age 16, I was invited to a reception to receive Honors at Entrance. I found my hand being shaken by Robert Gordon Sproul, … [Read more...]

On Gnosticism, the Book of Shadows, and Sex

I received a few days ago my monthly statistical report from Patheos on how many hits I received last month, total, per day, per blog, etc. My total has been running just under 5,000. If I get up to 12,500, I start getting paid (hint, hint). It was interesting to see that the greatest number of hits were on two blogs: “On Jesus as a Gnostic” and “Some New Pages for the Book of Shadows.” I suppose I might garner some more hits if I expand upon those particular topics. I also see I’ve written somew … [Read more...]

Why the Gods Are Infinite

A dialog about whether the Gods are infinite or not often begins with “Gerald Gardner wrote that the Gods of the Wica are ‘little gods.’” Yes, he did, but he was not very interested in abstract theology. I don’t think he was asserting that, if the Abrahamic God is infinite, then our Pagan Gods must be finite. Rather, his point was that, whereas (many) Christians believe in a God who is distant, arbitrary, angry, vengeful, and punishing, Witches believe in Gods who are nearby, kind, compassio … [Read more...]