My First Sabbatical: A Retrospective

I toyed with the idea of calling or subtitling this sabbatical retrospective “the good, the bad and the ugly”. Certainly there was some of the latter: a severe case of bronchitis early on, and an attempted break-in at my house (I was out of the house for perhaps 5 minutes, came home and found the [Read More...]

Crossing Over

Just a quick movie-related post. I just recently saw the movie Crossing Over. It offers a portrait of diverse experiences by a range of (mostly illegal) immigrants in the United States. It is very thought provoking. Be warned, however, that this is probably not a movie to show to a church group in order to [Read More...]

Gender-Bender or Gender-Blender?

Tony Jones has posted on a topic that I also touched on recently, sharing some personal accounts of the difficulties faced by people who, because of their chromosomes and/or their genitalia, might be considered heterosexual according to one country’s laws and homosexual according to another’s. [Read more...]

Hebrews Episode I

Chris Tilling offered a link to some really excellent, top notch New Testament scholars in videos on YouTube. But how can they compete with this video from Aaron Rathburn, presenting the beginning of the Epistle to the Hebrews in Star Wars format? [Read more...]

Review of The Science Fiction Handbook

I am offering a shorter review than I usually tend to of The Science Fiction Handbook by M. Keith Booker and Anne-Marie Thomas (Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), not because the book has lesser value, but on the contrary, because the book is so rich, diverse and complex that it is difficult to summarize, other than in [Read More...]

Male and Female He Created Them?

I suppose I ought to tackle this question, since I get people arriving at my blog daily after doing a search for the keywords “hermaphrodite sex”. Is Genesis 1:27c wrong or merely misleading? It makes it sound like God not only initially created but ordained that human existence should be typified by two sorts of [Read More...]

(Mostly Dis)honest (S)crap Meme

Having (thankfully!) never been tagged with the “Honest Scrap” meme that has been circulating, I began formulating a somewhat twisted alternative. The meme works as follows. You post five things about yourself. Four are untrue. One is true. All are so outlandish, implausible or ridiculous that no one would be inclined to believe that any [Read More...]

Silly Buses?

Someone left a link in a comment to a site that explores the complicated issue of the origin of the word syllabus and the related issue of what its plural form should be. I’ll leave that subject to be debated by the English etymologists and Latinists among you. I shouldn’t have to worry in the [Read More...]

Butler University #2

Congratulations to Butler University, to all my colleagues and co-workers, on being ranked #2 in the recent U.S. News and World Report rankings, in its category of Midwestern Master’s level comprehensive universities! [Read more...]

Liberalism and Christianity around the Blogosphere

There are a few recent posts that I thought I’d highlight. First, Celucien Joseph has continued the conversation about Liberal Christianity. I’m not sure if he really gets what Liberal Christianity is (apart from a Conservative stereotype he may have heard), and I suspect he’d be surprised to find how many exegetes he’s read would [Read More...]


As others have done, I’m sharing the syllabi for the classes I’ll be teaching this semester. The Bible The Historical Jesus Students will probably not look at them until classes start next week (some will most likely never look at them, but that is another issue), and so feedback and suggestions for improvement are welcome. [Read more...]

Preview The Only True God

I was looking for a reference (one that I remembered citing before in discussions of the use of “God” in a broader sense in the context of early Jewish and Jewish-Christian monotheism), and found it – embedded in a preview of my book The Only True God on Google Books! So I thought I’d share [Read More...]

Sounds Like…

The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus had this gem of a cartoon today: And Irenic Thoughts shared this quote from Anne Lamott: “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” Meanwhile Notes From Off Center shared an example [Read More...]

Bultmann, Mandaeans and the Gospel of John Revisited

Today is the 125th anniversary of the birth of New Testament scholar Rudolf Bultmann. It is hard to think of another example of an individual who integrated as totally the attempt to address matters of Biblical studies, philosophy, theology and practice. This doesn’t necessarily mean that his attempt to do so does not also expose [Read More...]