A Mind to Murder– P.D. James

While her first novel, 'Cover her Face' showed the various traits of a first novel (for example, a lack of use of the full pallet of description that she undoubtedly possessed) the second novel, first published in 1963, is another story. James likes what I would call set pieces, buy which I mean murders committed in small, and often confined settings-- a small literary community with a hospital ('the Black Tower'), a small school, a small business firm, a small seaside village or in this case a … [Read more...]

The Bible– Part Two

There is a famous line from the old Monty Python movie 'The Life of Brian'. Someone is listening to the Sermon on the Mount, but he is distant from the speaker. He thinks he hears... "Blessed are the cheesemakers" instead of 'Blessed are the Peacemakers". Perhaps he was actually watching and listening to the pilot for this new History Channel special, The Bible. Perhaps they were especially watching the better part of an hour spent in Episode 2 on the titillation of the story of Samson and … [Read more...]

The Assyrians are Coming— Part Two

The anthropomorphic images of Assyrian rulers not surprisingly have heads that look like their rulers, but bodies of large animals (with wings). This is fairly common in the ANE (cf. the Babylonian images). But palaces did not just display the iconography of rulers, they also displayed images of battles won, conquered peoples, and mythological creatures. Here below are some of the images of these things. Notice that the falcon deity accessorizes--- nice purse! … [Read more...]

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1cH3H14AL90 … [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...]