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...]

Egyptian Idol

Egyptians were polytheists when they encountered Hebrew and then Christian culture. They had many gods, and made many images of the many gods. Above you will see a collection of some of amazing variety of small deity statues of Anubis and Osiris and various other deities, carved in alabaster or lapis lazuli or jade and other stones. Of course if you look closely you will also find carvings of Pharaohs as well. Of the many failings of the whole Zeitgeist approach to ancient religions, one of the … [Read more...]

And God Created…..

One of my all time favorite sculptors of the 'Impressionist' era is Rodin. I highly recommend a visit to the special museum of his work in Paris, but failing that, you can go to the Met and see a great deal. This particular image is of God fashioning Adam.Above is another favorite in the courtyard of the museum in Paris--- namely the Gates of Hell.... When we think Impressionists we often think Monet or Manet or Van Gogh, in short painters. But there was much more to the movement than … [Read more...]

Die like an Egyptian

Egyptian funerary art is something pretty special. In the arid climate of Egypt, the pictures painted on the lids of sarcophagi are sometimes very well preserved, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art has a nice collection of such funerary art. What is especially interesting about this practice is that it dates to the Greco-Roman period, specifically to the period just before and during the NT era. Take for example the last of these paintings above. It dates to 100-150 A.D. and is painted in … [Read more...]