Doctor Who: The Power of Three

Whether you enjoy Doctor Who for the humor or the drama, or both, and whether you share my interest in religious themes in the show or not, there was a lot to love about tonight's episode, “The Power of Three.” There were no fewer plot holes than in the holiest of previous episodes. But if [Read More...]

Review of To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal

I am grateful to Patheos for the opportunity to participate in the book club about Mary C. Neal’s book To Heaven and Back: A Doctor’s Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again: A True Story. This is not a scholarly or academic book, but a personal account by this medical doctor of [Read More...]

John Cage on the Purpose of Music

A few days ago I had the privilege of listening to a lunchtime talk with snippets of performance by my colleague Kate Boyd, who worked on and performed John Cage's Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano during her recent sabbatical. John Cage, I learned, had his thinking about the purpose of music transformed by a [Read More...]


I am grateful to Patheos for the privilege of viewing a screening of the new movie Hellbound? before its official opening. This movie is a powerful exploration of the doctrine of hell from a Christian perspective that does one basic thing that all Christians ought to do, namely not simply assume that the view which is articulated most [Read More...]

Possibly the Most Interesting Pact With the Devil

Rick Perry has apparently made some bizarrely critical comments about the separation of church and state. That separation is the separation that the forerunners of modern Evangelicals, including the Baptists in particular, struggled for and advocated. It is the one that is surely responsible for the fact that religion is a vibrant part of American [Read More...]

Is the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife a Fake?

Let me start with the news that Mark Goodacre shared a pdf of an article written by Francis Watson, arguing that the recently-found Coptic papyrus that has been dubbed the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” is a fake. He followed that up with a second shorter pdf on the forger’s alleged technique. Some are already pronouncing [Read More...]

3 Jesus’ Wife (With Fill in the Blank at the End)

There’s been even more blogged and discussed about the “Jesus’ wife” Coptic fragment since my last round-up. Most of what I have seen on blogs I read regularly have been wise, balanced, scholarly perspectives. Don Burrows clarifies the difference between absurd media claims and what Karen King and other scholars are saying. Craig Evans offers [Read More...]

2 Jesus’ Wife

The announcement by Karen King about the Coptic fragment which has Jesus mentioning “my wife” is, unsurprisingly, continuing to get much attention and generate much discussion. Rather than keep updating yesterday’s post on the topic, I thought that a follow-up post would be more appropriate, rounding up the blogging and media reporting of the “Gospel [Read More...]

Coptic Text Mentions Jesus’ Wife

The New York Times, the Harvard Gazette, The Huffington Post and other media outlets are breaking the news that Karen King, a scholar well known for her work on the phenomenon usually referred to as “Gnosticism,” has come into possession of and has been studying a Coptic papyrus fragment which is likely to be authentic, [Read More...]

Scooby Doo vs. Doctor Who

It has been observed that some science fiction stories seem to make the opposite point to the one made in the classic cartoon series Scooby Doo. This image highlights the contrast well, using Doctor Who as the specific example: We can all appreciate stories that explore scenarios in which aliens visited our planet in the [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...]