The Cambridge Chronicles: The Globe

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For those of us who are nuts about Shakespeare, a trip to the new Globe Theatre (not so new any more since they were constructing it in 1997) is a must. On a beautiful, blue sky day, my good friend Richard Bauckham and I took a trip down from Cambridge to the bustling metropolis that is London to accomplish two things: 1) see a Mid Summer Night's Dream at the Globe, and 2) have dinner with one of my favorite writers of historical fiction--- P.C. also known as Paul Doherty. This day went so … [Read more...]

The Rankin Files— A Question of Blood

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This one is different, for this one is personal, and for my money this may be the best of all the novels in this series. The reason this story is personal for John Rebus is because one of his nephews is killed when an apparently crazed former soldier comes into a school, killing two children, and wounding a third--- or did he? At the same time, John Rebus' best colleague, under study and friend, Siobhan Clarke, has been attacked and repeatedly harassed by a ne'er do well bad guy and then he … [Read more...]

The Rankin File— Resurrection Men

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St. Peter stood tall behind the podium in heaven when the criminal came seeking entrance. "You can't come in here," said Peter, "and I've got some good news and bad news for you.""Excellent," said the thug, "tell me the good news first.""You will be raised from the dead."The man starts jumping up and down saying "Cool. A fresh start. But what's the bad news."Peter looked down and said, "You'll be part of the negative resurrection referred to in Dan. 12.1-2 and Rev. 20." … [Read more...]

Work Rate, Write Right

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I've been doing a lot of reading lately about and by two famous Durhamites--- C.K. Barrett, and his predecessor, and in some respects, role model. J.B. Lightfoot. One of the interesting connections is their work rate. They were not afraid of hard work and lots of it. Kingsley, for example, regularly would work from 10-2 in the morning on his scholarly work. In part this is because he was a good family man, and the earlier part of the evening until the children went to bed was devoted to … [Read more...]

C.K.Barrett Day at Durham University

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There has rarely ever been a day like that which began the night of the 15th of May and ran through to the afternoon of the 16th of May here at Durham University. It was C.K. Barrett day, and a whole series of honorific scholarly presentations, as well as personal reflections were given on CKB, my doctor father. The picture above comes courtesy of old friend Professor Bill Telford, now retired, who taught at both Newcastle and Durham. I lectured on the importance of rhetoric for the study of … [Read more...]

“Don’t Cry for me Venezuela’

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Since the death of Hugo Chavez, things have 'gone south' in that southern hemisphere country called Venezuela. There have been shortages of all kinds of necessities. In a recent article in the Times we are told--- "After the physical discomfort of running low on toilet paper, churchgoers in Venezula may face a more spiritual shortage-- the Church is running low on communion wine and flour to make eucharist wafers." (May 29th-- James Hider).One report says there is only enough wine for two … [Read more...]

The Rankin Files— The Falls

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If you are a movie buff, you will know the classic It's a Wonderful Life. Jimmy Stewart plays a deeply troubled man in Bedford Falls, and is regularly talking about 'the Falls'. Ian Rankin's 12th novel in the Rebus series also has this title, but it is a horse of a very different color. Sometimes truth is truly stranger than fiction. This particular novel is based a little bit on true events. Mr. Rankin became fascinated with the Burke and Hyde saga, which of course prompted the Jekyll and … [Read more...]

The Romans are Coming!

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Not only is there an impressive Roman fort at Corbridge, there is also a nice small museum of things found on the archaeological site as well. This post will deal with some of the more important ones. Roman legions had a religious life. There were gods they prayed to and sacrificed to, regularly, and especially before going into battle. Sol Invictus was one of their regular favorites, but they also set up Mithraic religious sites in the region of Corbridge and Hexham as well. In addition to … [Read more...]

Something Every Pastor Needs— a Fortified Vicarage

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Corbridge is one of the more interesting Roman sites in all of Britain, not least because of the museum at Corbridge (on which see the next post). But the church of St. Andrew in Corbridge is equally interesting because it has: 1) the King's ovens, built into the wall (the church being the dispenser of bread for the poor, it is in the church wall) and 2) a fortified towering vicarage! Yes you heard right. The minister had all the protection he needed from irate parishioners.Here is the … [Read more...]


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