Ken Ham is a Con Artist and Wants Other Christians To Be Con Artists Too

The phrase “con artist” developed from the phrase “confidence man” which later became shortened to “con man.” The original focus in the term “con” was not on the swindling of the victim per se, therefore, but on the means of doing so: gaining the victim’s confidence, often through the perpetrator speaking with confidence and in [Read More...]

Miriai’s Story

One of the first stories I became acquainted with in the Mandaean Book of John is the story of Miriai. Since it is one of the excerpts from the book that had previously been translated into English, it was interesting to spend some time wrestling with some of the obscure terms and idioms in the [Read More...]

The EThOS of Open Access

Thanks to Nick Norelli for highlighting that a number of UK doctoral dissertations – including my own – are available for download from the British Library database EThOS, which stands for Electronic Theses Online Service. There are also a couple of theses related to the Mandaeans, one of which served as the basis for the [Read More...]

Geez, I’m a Language Geek

It is surely a clear sign that I am a language geek that when I see the word “Geez” written somewhere, the first thing I think of is not the shortened way of saying “Jesus” to express surprise or frustration… …but rather something that looks like this: [Read more...]

The Importance of Language Learning Illustrated

This morning I had a useful illustration of why learning as much as you can of a language is important. This morning, I left my bag near my room as instructed and went to the elevator. A couple of bellboys passed and I heard one of them say a number in Hebrew. I was fortunate [Read More...]

Happy Easter!

Χριστός ανέστη, Hristos a înviat, and Happy Easter to those who observe the orthodox calendar! Thanks for the above image to Pithless Thoughts – who I hope will also share how one actually says “Christ is Risen” or “Happy Easter” in Klingon, since even the language site Omniglot doesn’t know. I wonder if that is [Read More...]

Persecution of Mandaeans Continues in Iraq

Jim Davila shared a link to a news article about the desecration of Sabean or Mandaean graves in Kirkuk. [Read more...]

Melammu, the Mandaeans and other Mesopotamians

Charles Jones posted at Ancient World Online about the Melammu project, which has a digital library dedicated to “The Intellectual Heritage of Assyria and Babylonia in East and West.” The site contains numerous interesting pieces, but not surprisingly the one that grabbed my attention was Amar Annus’ “Some Otherworldly Journeys in Mesopotamian, Jewish, Mandaean and [Read More...]

Responding to Richard Carrier’s Response to Bart Ehrman

I linked previously to Bart Ehrman’s piece on whether Jesus existed in The Huffington Post. A response has been written by Richard Carrier (also discussed by Tom Verenna and Neil Godfrey), and I want here to point out some problems with that response. Let me begin by emphasizing that when scholars write op-ed pieces for [Read More...]

Hebrew Text on Darth Vader’s Armor?

A post that appeared today on IO9 drew to my attention a topic at the intersection of religion and science fiction that I somehow managed to remain completely unaware of. Apparently there is Hebrew writing on the front panel of Darth Vader’s armor. Here’s an image (you will probably need to zoom in to see [Read More...]

Matthew Morgenstern reviews Charles Häberl’s The Neo-Mandaic Dialect of Khorramshahr

Here’s the conclusion from a review of the book The Neo-Mandaic Dialect of Khorramshahr by my co-worker on the Mandaean Book of John translation project, Charles Häberl: In summary, we have before us an outstanding contribution to the study of one of the rarest Semitic languages spoken today. Häberl is to be thanked for having [Read More...]


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