Burning Down The Temple

One particular detail in the Gospel of Peter has long struck me as a sure sign the author had authentic early oral traditions passed down to him apart from or in addition to the canonical Gospels. The reference to the disciples being in hiding after Jesus’ arrest because it was feared they would set fire [Read More...]

On A Hill In A Galaxy Far, Far Away…

I’ve finally begun watching the latest season of Doctor Who. I will not post any genuine spoilers in this post – you won’t learn what the Face of Boe’s secret is from me! But the last episode I watched, “Gridlock”, raises questions that I’ve asked before in other contexts. Can we imagine our descendents 15 [Read More...]

Will America Be Left Behind?

No, I’m not asking about a fanciful apocalyptic scenario based on a few texts taken out of context. Last night, my church showed the animated movie Cars. I found the movie moving (both literally and metaphorically, I suppose), but I was particularlly struck by the way themes from the movie intersected with ones I have [Read More...]

Matthew Accuracy

In their book on Rumor Psychology Nicholas DiFonzo and Prashant Bordia mention the concept of “Matthew Accuracy”. Deriving its name from the principle in the Gospel of Matthew that “to the one who has more will be given, but from the one who does not have even the little he has will be taken away”, [Read More...]

God’s Rivals?

Gerald R. McDermott’s second book on world religions from an Evangelical perspective was published this year, entitled God’s Rivals. Both books seem to be part of a larger project, and there are many respects in which this volume is logically prior to his first, Can Evangelicals Learn From World Religions? That first book focused more [Read More...]

St. Theresa of Banyan – A Mystical Exegesis of Her Most Famous Parable

It is time to reveal the truth behind the urban legend regarding “Theresa Banyan” and the question of hell’s endothermic/exothermic nature. This legend in fact derives from a real incident in the life of St. Theresa of Banyan, the famous Indian saint and mystic, known by this name because of her custom of meditating and [Read More...]

The Legend of Therese Banyan

I am grateful to Marc Goodacre for sharing his own research on the urban legend regarding hell’s exothermic/endothermic nature. As previously mentioned, my own research of late has turned to precisely the theme he discussed in his 2004 lecture which he shares, namely oral tradition and the circulation of urban legends. Of course, the circulation [Read More...]

Will hell freeze over, or will all hell break loose? The scientific question

Most readers will probably have already encountered this bit of web humor which asks “Is hell endothermic or exothermic?” but I thought I’d share it for those who may still not have seen it, since it ties into the theme of my previous two blog entries, as well as my broader interest in religion and [Read More...]

The Tree Of Life

I find myself needing to say more about the imagery in the movie The Fountain (reviewed in my previous blog entry). Although I am a religion professor specializing in Biblical studies, I tend to have more to say about other subjects on my blog – perhaps because I have so many other forums and outlets [Read More...]

The Fountain

Yesterday I watched the movie The Fountain.Having read a review or two I was geared up to find it incoherent; instead I found it fabulous, insightful, provocative and deeply moving. I highly recommend it. The story focuses on two characters, Tommy and Izzi, who are husband and wife. Tommy is a scientific researcher trying to [Read More...]

Snap Shots

I just installed what I consider a nice little tool on this site called Snap Shots that enhances links with visual previews of the destination site, interactive excerpts of Wikipedia articles, MySpace profiles, IMDb profiles and Amazon products, display inline videos, RSS, MP3s, photos, stock charts and more. Sometimes Snap Shots bring you the information [Read More...]