Things Your Minister Wishes He Could Tell You

There are things your minister, pastor, priest or preacher would love to be able to tell you, but cannot because of concerns about job security. I am not only thinking about the scandalous revelations that occasionally come to light, nor even the relatively minor fact that your pastor sometimes comes to the pulpit the same [Read More...]

Animation from Scratch

This is just a quick entry to share a couple of useful sites I’ve learned about recently (one about a month or two ago, the other yesterday). The first is the site of a program called Scratch which one can download freely from the MIT web site. It allows one to make one’s own animation [Read More...]

Did Paul Get Whacked?

This entry is simply to share another interesting connection between Biblical literature and popular culture, in this instance Micah Kiel’s article on the Society of Biblical Literature web site entitled “Did Paul Get Whacked? The Endings of The Sopranos and the Acts of the Apostles“. The question asked there regarding what constitutes a ‘good ending’ [Read More...]

The Lesser of Two Evils

Many thanks to Jim West for bringing recent news about liberation theology to our attention. What I find most troubling about most of the discussions of religion and economics is that we find ourselves choosing ‘the lesser of two evils’, as though our only options are Capitalism and Communism in a more or less pure [Read More...]

Phil Collins, Anton Bruckner, and Jesus

The title may sound like a joke, but the truth is that most recent discussions of oral tradition in the Gospels have made use of the Lord-Parry school’s work on folk songs and epics. I have some significant problems with this, given the role of meter and rhyme and the assistance to memory provided by [Read More...]

Accuracy is not Inerrancy

A news item mentioned on the Christianity Today blog (which itself interacts with and quotes Jim West’s blog) as well as in newspapers highlights a Babylonian tablet that correlates with information in Jeremiah. This is a fascinating discovery, and very interesting for historians. From a historian’s perspective, this just shows that the Bible at times [Read More...]

On Satan Getting Saved

Origen famously created controversy in his day by merely speculating on the possibility that even the devil could be saved. It is important to ask why this idea should be controversial in a Christian context. Allegedly, Christianity is all about redemption, about the possibility of those living in darkness seeing the light and changing direction. [Read More...]

Starship Battles

I know many readers of my blog are Star Wars fans. I recently purchased the Star Wars Miniatures Starship Battles Starter Set, and can highly recommend it. Created by Wizards of the Coast, who are also responsible for the Star Wars Miniatures game (involving individual characters rather than ships) and currently also produce the Dungeons [Read More...]

Music for Spiritual Exploration

When I need to be persuaded yet again that reality includes transcendence and the spiritual, I usually turn to music rather than opening the writings of some theologian or other (although those help a lot too!). Here are a few pieces I’d recommend for this purpose… Peteris Vasks’ Lauda which I was listening to earlier [Read More...]

How did Mark’s Gospel originally end?

For me, one of Croy’s strongest arguments (in his book The Mutilation of Mark’s Gospel) that Mark originally continued beyond 16:8 (where it ends in our earliest manuscripts) is a comparison with Moby Dick. Apparently, the English release omitted the epilogue, with the result that it appeared no one survived. As one reviewer appropriately asked, [Read More...]

Intelligent Design: Philo vs. Ken Ham

One can trace the origins of intelligent design’s type of argument back into the ancient world. Naturally, before there were scientific explanations for various phenomena, there was a tendency to identify all sorts of “natural phenomena” (in our terms) as literally “acts of God” or acts of the gods. What is intriguing in these early [Read More...]