The Assyrians are Coming– Part One

The Metropolitan Museum of Art could just as well be called the Metropolitan Museum of Artifacts. It has enormously good collections of artifacts from the Ancient Near East and elsewhere, and in the next few blog posts we will be showing you some of what they have, starting with the Assyrian stuff. Careful students of the Bible will remember that it was the Assyrians who swept across the fertile crescent and conquered the northern tribes of Israel, carting off some of its leaders, in about 722 … [Read more...]

Richard Bauckham on Revelation— Part One … [Read more...]

Weird Things on the Set of ‘the Bible’

(picture courtesy Lightworkers Media)The producers of the History Channel special 'the Bible" (filmed in the Sahara), a show which got cable's highest-rated audience of the year last Sunday (13.1 million viewers), reports the following oddities...."There’s a scene with Jesus and Nicodemus, when Nicodemus comes to Jesus in the night. It’s a very still night, not a breath of wind, and we’re on the edge of the Sahara desert in a palm grove in an oasis… Jesus says, ‘The Holy Spirit is like … [Read more...]

An ‘Unnaturally Good’ Novel— Unnatural Causes

Sometimes the shorter novels are the best reads. P.D. James third Adam Dagleish novel aptly labeled 'Unnatural Causes', first out in 1967, is just that sort of novel. I nearly devoured the whole thing in one sitting on the plane coming back from Portland to Atlanta to Lexington. One of the reasons a shorter novel may be better is that it doesn't muck about with a bunch of subplots, that prove to be either frustrating or irrelevant. It's much more direct, to the point, and linear in quality. … [Read more...]

The Death of the Bookstore

I am currently in Portland/Vancouver and this morning I took a walk around downtown Vancouver Washington. Both bookstores I was looking for, are now shut up and gone. I shall simply have to hope to get to Powell's in Portland sometime later this week.I also received the news recently that Cokesbury is closing up ALL its vast array of actual bookstores. Of course before this Borders whole chain went belly up. This has put seminaries like Fuller and Asbury and numerous official UM … [Read more...]

Paul and the Heritage of Israel– Part Seven

The essay entitled "In Paul's Defense" by Timothy Brookins, Mikeal Parsons and Peter Reynolds seeks to provide the reader with translations from 'J.A. Cramer's Catena' (1838) which collected early defenses of Paul, or clarifications of Acts' portrait of Paul that might seem to tarnish his halo. The attempt also is to exonerate Paul from any infelicity or wrongdoing. The scholia in Cramer's catena are thought to go back to Archbishop Andrew of Caesarea of Cappadocia, and so to the 7th century … [Read more...]

Paul and the Heritage of Israel— Part Six

Richard Pervo's contribution to the Paul and the Heritage of Israel volume, entitled "(Not) Appealing to the Emperor" is a valuable one. For one thing, it is a mistake to lump attitudes about the Empire, attitudes about a particular Emperor (say Nero) and attitudes about the growing Imperial cult together. One could be anti-Imperial cult without reservation and at the same time say something like we find in Rom. 13. Pervo's purview is to sort of Luke's view, and he begins with a crucial … [Read more...]

History Channel’s ‘the Bible’— Less Filling, Tastes Great

(picture courtesy of Joe Alblas, History Channel)At this season of the year, with Easter approaching, we usually have some sensationalized documentaries, or docudramas, meant to suggest things like Jesus was a Gnostic, or Jesus' family tomb has been found, or Jesus was actually a Marxist revolutionary in disguise, and the like. When an Easter time program comes along that avoids all of those fallacies and instead simply tries to present the story of the Bible, Christians and Jews alike … [Read more...]

‘In the Fields of the Lord’– Mark Oppenheimer’s Bombshell

First of all, I admit to being a sports fan. A big sports fan. Always have been, and probably always will be. And I have also seen the inside of sports, the ugly side, the bad side, especially when we are talking about college and professional sports. But of course I have also seen parents yelling and swearing at their six year olds to play better. We are a sports obsessed nation, and even more than that, we are a 'just win baby' nation when it comes to sports. And here in lies a major … [Read more...]