Traditions and Religious Worlds of Late Antiquity – #AARSBL15 Monday Afternoon

Traditions or Eastern Late Antiquity co-sponsored a session with the SBL section on Religious Worlds of Late Antiquity, focused on exploring and problematizing the phenomena that have been labeled “Christianization” and “Islamicization.” The papers looked at topics at the intersection of the two traditions, such as celibacy, and sacred space. I was delighted to see [Read More...]

Bordering Others: Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity #aarsbl15 Sunday Afternoon Session

The first paper in the TELA session on the theme “Bordering Others: Examining Religious Community in Eastern Late Antiquity” was by Jennifer Hart and focused in using orthopraxy to define “true” Mandaeism. She began with a quote from the work The Thousand and Twelve Questions, which is focused on ritual error and what to do [Read More...]

ISIS vs. Islam

Daniel McClellan made the cartoon above, and I wanted to make sure more people see it. He makes the same points that are made in multiple other places around the web, but less succinctly. For instance, Mark Jurgensmeyer writes: ISIS has not been doing well these days. On the day before the attacks the strategic [Read More...]

The Speck in the Eye of Islam

Jesse Dooley paraphrased a famous saying of Jesus, writing: Why do you see the speck in the eye of Islam when you have such glaring beams in your own? First rid yourself of your own logs so you can see clearly enough to help your Muslim brothers and sisters. I’m grateful to Dănuț Mănăstireanu for [Read More...]


I saw the news about Ahmed Mohamed being handcuffed at his Texas school for bringing to school a clock that he made himself. I lamented the unfair stereotyping of individuals based on their name, their religion, their background. And then I realized that all that transpired in fact confirmed stereotypes that some of us have…of Texans. Perhaps I [Read More...]

Stop White Christian Immigration Now!

America is under attack. We can look back over the history of our nation and recall figures like William Cornell way back in 1863, or James Holmes and Dylann Roof from more recently. We can look over the list Wikipedia provides of more than a hundred rampage killers and other examples of mass violence in American [Read More...]

Mandaean Contributions to Islamic Civilization

I received word about the new book series below, and wanted to share it here, since it explicitly mentions the Mandaeans! New book series: Edinburgh University Press Non-Muslim contributions to Islamic civilisation Series editors: Professor Carole Hillenbrand and Dr Myriam Wissa Non-Muslim contributions to Islamic civilisation is a new edited series which deviates from the [Read More...]

News Flash: Right-Wing Fundamentalists Don’t Understand Islam

Hemant Mehta drew attention to angry outbursts on Twitter, from conservatives who are upset that president Obama did not mention God in his 4th of July address. These two particularly baffle me: @BlissTabitha He’s an atheist with Muslim tendencies. — Troy Ellison (@blayne_troy) July 4, 2015 [ Military ] Open Question : Obama removes God from [Read More...]

Islamic Holdem

From Existential Comics [Read more...]

Neither Side Will Be Happy

Reality often challenges our assumptions. Sometimes evidence strongly favors one conclusion over another – there is no need to be a relativist. But just as often, we pigeonhole and stereotype when people and things are much more complex. I’ve been delighted to see some great instances of members of groups objecting when the group that they are [Read More...]


A cute cartoon from People in White Coats. Is this blasphemy, or a miracle – or can it be both? While I probably would have shared it just for the punny title (mashing together pareidolia and idolatry), there is a serious point worth reflecting on – and not just about our human penchant to see patterns [Read More...]