Having the Devil of a Time….


It's an old tension or conundrum, but still one worth pondering. On the one hand, it's a mistake for the Christian to give Satan too much credit for what is going on. Some Christians find demons under every rock in the NT, and even talk about a demon giving them a cold etc. Of this sort of demonizing of everything that goes wrong in life, the NT shows no hint.Indeed, it is worth noticing that Paul never even uses the word demon, save once ('you cannot share in the table of demons and … [Read more...]

Humanities vs. the Sciences– Who Wins the Prize?

(Here's another interesting piece by my friend and colleague, Larry Hurtado) Recognizing Achievements in the Humanities by larry hurtadoAttending yesterday the installation of my colleague, Prof. Jane Dawson, as a new Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the installation of several Honorary and Corresponding Fellows as well, I was struck by two things: (1) the impressive achievements and contributions to research of all of them, and (2) the fact that overwhelmingly they were … [Read more...]

Mark’s Community— or Lack Thereof

Here is a post by Larry Hurtado that deals with the state of the discussion about the provenance and community of Mark's Gospel. The Quest for the Mark “Community” by larry hurtadoAt this year's annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature (17-20 November, Chicago), the Mark Seminar will have as one of its foci the recurring issue of the historical provenance of the Gospel of Mark. We've invited advocates of some difference putative provenances to make a case, specifically sh … [Read more...]

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel– What a Way to Go


"Everything will turn out alright in the end, and if it's not alright (at present), then it's not the end!' With this line Sonny reassures his English guests in Jaipur that things will get better in the dilapidated hotel from the era of the Raj to which they have chosen to retire. Well, actually when it comes to that hotel, things could only get better, but I digress.John Madden has directed lots of good films, and this is certainly one of them. Despite the fact that its themes are old … [Read more...]

Ancient Literacies IV— Further Insights

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On the cover of the book we have been discussing is an image of a little known painted panel from a villa in Pompeii. What it depicts is the tools of the trade of writing-- an inkwell, a stylus a papyrus, a wax tablet... Writing in antiquity was nothing like writing on a computer today. It was a long lugubrious, messy process. In this post we want to highlight some of the insights in this collection of essays we have not thus far mentioned.One of the virtues of this volume for NT studies … [Read more...]

Ancient Literacies III– On Bookshops and Literary Performance

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Take a good look at this stone pediment. What do you see? This was found in Ostia, Italy, and it would originally have been founded on the front facing of a building. What sort of building--- you ask? A bookshop, the store of a 'librarius'What you have depicted in this stone shop sign is a man speaking on a podium with two persons taking dictation on either side of him in codex form documents. Behind and to the left are listeners. What is being advertized in this display is a … [Read more...]

The James Ossuary May Be Destroyed???


(Matthew Kalman is the only reporter who sat through all the years of the Oded Golan trial. He is the inside source of my information about such matters. Here is his latest shocking report-- BW3).Judge to Decide Fate of Ossuary, Jehoash Tablet Posted: May 29, 2012 in UncategorizedThis news is reported in “The Jerusalem Post” by Matthew Kalman (on 29th May 2012). You may be interested in knowing the details.Scholars say items should be preserved; J’lem judge could order items d … [Read more...]

Ancient Literacies II: The Case of the Random Reader

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There is much to be learned about ancient literacy in the fine book edited by William Johnson and Holt Parker, as I said in the previous post, and one of the overall impressions the book leaves is the growing suspicion that William Harris, the guru on levels of literacy in the ancient world (no more than 10-20%) was wrong, indeed badly wrong if we take into account all different sorts of literacies. As Rosalind Thomas says in the opening essay in the volume "it is misleading to talk simply … [Read more...]

Quintilian on Writing, Reading, Studying, Editing


(the statue is of Cicero, whom Quintilian thought the greatest rhetorician of his age).Below is an excerpt from Book 10 and Chapter 3 of Quintilian's Institutions of Oration. There are more than a few excellent thoughts here about studying, writing, editing, and reflecting.... and burning the midnight oil, an expression we owe to ancients like Quintilian. The translation is an ancient one, which I have done some updating to.------19. From my condemnation of carelessness in … [Read more...]