Garden of Eden to become Iraqi National Park

“Garden of Eden to become Iraqi National Park.” That’s the headline in New Scientist. The article is about the preservation of a part of the southern marshlands of Iraq, the region where the Ma’dan Marsh Arabs have historically lived, and a traditional homeland of the Mandaeans. Local lore also claims it was the site of the Garden of [Read More...]

“God”

All Christians and all atheists do not disagree about everything. For instance, I agree very strongly with Hemant Mehta that this church needs to learn how to use quotation marks correctly: There are in fact whole blogs and web sites dedicated to the misuse of quotation marks. It is cases like these, when people seem [Read More...]

Jesus vs. Mandaean Lightworld Figures in the Great Treasure

Here are another couple of excerpts from the Great Treasure or Ginza Rba, which are relevant to my conference paper on depictions of lightworld visitors to Jerusalem in the Mandaean Book of John. They are also related to one another. First here is GR 1.199-200, : If he harasses you, tell him: “We belong to [Read More...]

Using Jesus

David Hayward wrote the following on his blog today: Everyone with any sense knows that we accept the acceptable words of Jesus and appropriate his unacceptable words in altered forms. That is, we use his sayings if they are agreeable, and we reject or theologically undermine the ones that aren’t. I think an interesting question [Read More...]

Did Paul Have a Distinctive Christology? Did He Think of Jesus as a Pre-Existent Human Being?

In a recent blog post, Larry Hurtado noted Morton Smith's observation that Christology never turns up as an issue between Paul and the more conservative Jewish Christian groups that he interacted with directly and indirectly, centered in Jerusalem. And so this seems to confirm that Paul did not take a Jewish Messianic figure and turn [Read More...]

The Real Differences Between Atheists and Christians (according to Twitter)

Hemant Mehta has shared some fascinating infographics indicating which words are used more frequently by atheists or by Christians on Twitter. It is definitely interesting. Atheists not only swear more frequently. They also mention “hell” and “Bible” more often too. But you’ll get more “blessed,” “praise,” and “Jesus” and “Christ” from Christians. Here is one [Read More...]

We Promise (Fingers Crossed)

David Hayward's latest cartoon.   [Read more...]

Betraying the Bible

John Shore has the following to say in a post today: The conservatives’ kill shot has always been a silver bullet with four words engraved into it: “It’s in the Bible.” A wife is to submit to her husband. A woman shouldn’t speak in church. Spare the rod, spoil the child. The Earth is the center [Read More...]

Dear Science

Tyler Francke has a new post up at God of Evolution. In it, he suggests that Christians could do with writing a letter to science along the following lines: Dear Science, We have been unfaithful to you, and we are sorry. Young-earth creationism could never measure up to you — what the heck were we [Read More...]

Khaaaaaaaaan!

No, this isn’t a post about Star Trek. It is about something that sounds just like the title of this post: the con, which originally stems from confidence man. And that is worth thinking about. Tobias Buckell linked to an article about research which shows that a pundit’s popularity correlates not with their knowledge or accuracy but [Read More...]

Core Doctrines Between the Lines and on the Margins?

Has anyone else ever noticed that conservative Christians of various sorts tend to emphasize things which are either not actually spelled out in the Bible, or which are mentioned in passing or by lone authors and so arguably less than central to the faith and practice of early Christians? As a New Testament scholar, I [Read More...]


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