Embarrassment, Muhammad, and Jesus

Loren Rosson has an interesting blog post on the use of the criterion of embarrassment in a discussion of the historical existence of Muhammad. For those interested in the application of such a criterion to the historical figure of Jesus (as many readers of this blog are), this post will be of great interest! Of [Read More...]

AAR Traditions of East Late Antiquity Session

Here is the lineup for the Traditions of East Late Antiquity Exploratory Session that will take place at AAR in November: From Jerusalem to the Karûn: What can Mandaean Geographies Tell Us? Charles Häberl, Rutgers University “On the Creation of Adam”: A Greek/Syriac “Kephalaion” from Titus of Bostra’s Contra Manichaeos Timothy Pettipiece, University of Ottawa [Read More...]

Sci-Fi Shorts

A few things of interest. The Lead asked whether robots could ever replace clergy. It’s science fiction now, but will it always be? Some Turks took offense at what they perceived to be a patterning of a LEGO version of Jabba the Hutt’s palace on the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (not Constantinople). It was, they [Read More...]

Patheos Book Club: Do Jews, Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?

For the Patheos Book Club centered on the book Do Jews, Christians, and Muslims Worship the Same God?, we are taking a more dialogical approach. And since I read their blogs regularly, I thought I’d interact with John Morehead and Bob Cornwall, who’ve both posted their thoughts on the book already, since John in turn [Read More...]

The End of the Happy Middle Ground?

Jerry Coyne shared this Non Sequitur cartoon from today’s paper, saying that it dispels the fallacy that religious believers all worship the same god: The view that religious believers in different religious traditions worship the same deity is itself a particular religious viewpoint. It does not deny that many, perhaps the majority, in a large number [Read More...]

The Right to Not Be Offended?

Ismail Mohamed, a religious scholar and former an imam, is quoted in today's New York Times as saying, “We don’t think that depictions of the prophets are freedom of expression. We think it is an offense against our rights.” I don't think anyone has the right to never be offended. Indeed, I think the claim [Read More...]

Freedom of Speech = Freedom to Insult, to Criticize, and to Apologize

Many of the recent discussions about “free speech” in connection with the internet video about Islam called “Innocense of Muslims,” the violent reactions to it, and the apologies for it, seem to me to miss the point. In our democracy, within limits to ensure that the safety of people is safeguarded, people can express themselves [Read More...]

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

I borrowed the movie Salmon Fishing in the Yemen from my local library, having seen the trailer on another DVD. I don’t remember hearing about the movie anywhere else, and so I suspect that many readers may likewise never have heard about it. The movie focused on religion and faith more than I expected it to. [Read More...]

NEH Award Funds Commentary on the Mandaean Book of John

The NEH has issued a press release, and so presumably it is OK to announce publicly that the NEH has awarded a grant for the second stage of our project on the Mandaean Book of John, to add a commentary to the translation and Mandaic text that resulted from our past two years of work. [Read More...]

Sorry, I thought you were Muslim…

This image has some quirks in its English – it was clearly created by a non-native speaker. But I think it does a decent job of highlighting a double standard people in the United States and Europe typically have. What do you think? [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...]


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