Finding and Remembering Ancestors with Help from the Latter-Day Saints

I used to talk disdainfully about the Mormon practice of baptism for the dead. Taking an obscure reference in one of Paul’s letters and developing it into a doctrine seemed to me very dubious. I’m still not persuaded that the LDS church has understood what Paul was referring to correctly. But I have a new-found [Read More...]

LOST Rewatch: Tabula Rasa

The episode set the pattern of focusing on one character and telling their earlier story in flashbacks. The irony is that the title means “clean slate,” and yet the flashbacks show things that shape who characters are, even on the island. Jack says that it doesn’t matter who we were before, and says, “Three days [Read More...]

Funny Baptisms

Unless you’ve seen this compilation before, I am pretty sure you’ve never seen baptisms like the one at the middle and at the end of this video!   [Read more...]

Josephus, Jesus, and John

Ken Olson recently had a guest post on the Jesus Blog, about the Testimonium Flavianum. Olson’s chapter on this subject, “A Eusebian Reading of the Testimonium Flavianum,” is online on Academia.edu. Jim Davila and Richard Carrier also discuss this topic. Olson’s argument is summed up as follows: “The most likely hypothesis is that Eusebius either composed the [Read More...]

John the “Baptist”

“John the Baptist” is the way one particular John is known to history. But there are two ways that phrase could be understood. One, which is probably the most common, views John as having developed a distinctive ritual immersion, and that creation of his led to him being nicknamed “John the immerser.” A problem with [Read More...]

The Mandaean Refugee Crisis

The last two presentations were by Erica Hunter and by Layla al-Roomi and another Mandaean, and they focused on the situation of Mandaeans today. Mandaeans face discrimination and persecution in their historic homelands in Iran and Iran, and in the diaspora they face the difficulty of trying to preserve their heritage when they may have [Read More...]

Mandi in Australia

Brian Mubaraki has kindly shared some more photos from the Mandaean community in Australia. I’ve made a gallery below, so that you can click on each image to see it larger, and a second time to see it full size if you wish to. Brian shared this information about the photos: The pictures are of [Read More...]

Lobster Baptists

Actually, there are so many puns and transfers of symbols I can think of. Baptism as symbolic of having been boiled and raised again from the pot. They will know we are crustaceans by our love….   [Read more...]

What Sort of Baptist was John?

This post will hopefully illustrate that serious thoughts can be generated by frivolous content on blogs. Allan Bevere shared this amusing image of “John the Southern Baptist”: That got me thinking of the question “What sort of Baptist was John?” – imagining various “baptists” fighting over a claim to him. And that led me to [Read More...]

The Mandaeans: Around the World in 80 Faiths

A friend drew my attention to the above video which, starting around the 3:37 mark, is about the Mandaeans in Sydney, Australia. The video is from the BBC documentary series, Around the World in 80 Faiths. On the BBC documentary’s web site, you can also see many other video clips, including about the Samaritan Passover. [Read more...]

βαπτιστων

Brian Le Port has an interesting post about John the Baptist and related matters. He draws attention to a reference by Justin Martyr to a Jewish group which he refers to as βαπτιστων. The term is used in modern Greek for “Baptists” (as in the Christian denomination). I wonder whether the term most likely denoted [Read More...]


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