Paul and the Heritage of Israel— Part Eleven


However we evaluate the historical merits of Acts, and I am on record of thinking highly of them, the portrait of Paul in Acts is most certainly a construct, a selective portrayal, that leaves out of account many things, for example that Paul wrote important letters. Thus, it is appropriate to ask the question of Acts what sort of portrait is Luke trying to convey, and how much does it comport with what we can deduce from Paul's own letters, and indeed, other sources. Scholars today are more … [Read more...]

What Marriage is and Isn’t

Gold Wedding Rings

There is a first rate article on the nature of marriage from a legal point of view on the CNN website. Here is the link--- article is written by three persons legally competent to analyze the legal pros and cons of legalizing gay marriage. Here is how the article begins.....Editor's note: Robert P. George is a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and McCormick professor of jurisprudence at Princeton … [Read more...]

As Good as it Getz

Stan Getz, as much as anyone, was responsible for mediating Brazilian jazz to the American public. For one thing, his career went all the way back to the big band era (he played with Woody Herman), and it spanned the whole 'cool' period, hard bop period, classic jazz period, and beyond. And he was a saxaphone player with a smooth tone and style, who would be an enormous influence on folks like David Sanborn. Like so many musicians of his era, he was also plagued with drug problems which … [Read more...]

Paul and the Heritage of Israel– Part Ten


The article by Andreas Dettwiler (translated by Eric Gilchrest and Nicholas Zola, the former of which is one of my own former students) has much the same orientation as the article by Sterling, reviewed in the previous post in this particular series. That is, it involves a comparison of the supposedly deutero-Pauline Colossians and Ephesians to the portrait of Paul in Acts. Like so many who take this view of the pseudonymous character of those Pauline letters, the author talks about a Pauline … [Read more...]

Downton Abbey— Season Three


  Season Three of the hugely popular Downton Abbey has come and gone in both the U.K. and the U.S. and by the time this post appears, they will already be working on Season Four. So I am assuming no spoiler alerts will be necessary since even in America the Season ended two months ago. Even after three seasons (or as I prefer to call them, half seasons), Downton Abbey is still America's guilty pleasure (8.2 million watched the finale on PBS which outshone all competition on that Sunday night. … [Read more...]

‘Elementary’— Holmes Sweet Holmes I must confess to being a major Jeremy Brett fan, if the issue is the recreation of the original Holmes stories by A.C. Doyle, I must also confess I am in Holmes heaven of late because there are not one but two crackerjack shows (one on CBS, see the above video, one on BBC) about the man. The BBC show has the merit of drawing on, and updating to the present, various of the original stories, with a lot of liberty and creativity taken with them … [Read more...]

Paul and the Heritage of Israel– Part Nine


It is a long standing tendency of certain streams of NT scholarship to claim or blame Paul for the way the Jesus movement turned out-- namely a largely Gentile religion based not on the teachings of Jesus but on what was later viewed as his soteriological significance and work. This in turn led to a 'back to Jesus' and 'away with Paul' thrust which we still hear the echoes of today from various members of the Jesus seminar, and most recently from the book by James Tabor Paul and Jesus: How the … [Read more...]

The Bible— Part Three


It is always hard to know what to leave in, or leave out, of a film on the whole Bible. In this third episode we get part of the tale of Jeremiah and Nebuchadnezzar carting Jews off into Babylonian exile. The real focus of the first hour is on Daniel, and here finally, the story telling become becomes more apt and ept, and worth watching. We get both the fiery furnace and the lion's den episodes decently portrayed without melodrama. After all, the story in itself is dramatic enough. And … [Read more...]

The Odds of Oz


It's a difficult thing to do a prequel to a classic like the Wizard of Oz. Look for instance at the critique of Peter Jackson's handling of the Hobbit. Frank Baum's body of work was creative enough to warrant doing a prequel, rather than trying either a re-do of a classic (its already been done, even as a musical with Michael Jackson--- the Wiz)or a sequel. On the whole then, no matter how much hype, it would be difficult indeed for Disney to pull off a blockbuster prequel, and this film is not … [Read more...]