Virtual Magic Bowl Archive

AWOL shared a link to the Virtual Magic Bowl Archive, which features photos taken by Matthew Morgenstern, I believe. The practice of making and using magic bowls is something that Jews and Mandaeans in Mesopotamia shared in common. [Read more...]

An Interpolation in 1 Thessalonians?

When we moved from introductory matters to diving into one of the epistles in my Paul class, we started with 1 Thessalonians, usually thought to be the earliest of Paul’s letters. This gave me the opportunity to revisit the question of whether 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 is a post-Pauline interpolation. It is worth noting that there [Read More...]

Jerusalem’s Construction and Destruction (Right Ginza 15.11.328-333)

This is a quick translation of this passage from the Great Treasure (Ginza Rba), the Mandaean sacred text. It relies heavily on Lidzbarski’s German translation, cross-referenced with the online Ginza concordance mostly when either the German was ambiguous, or I was curious what the underlying Mandaic was. In most instances when I looked because the German [Read More...]

Retelling Romans 3:1-20

So what then is the advantage of being a Christian? What value is there in being part of this group? Much – in every respect. First of all, Christians have been entrusted with teachings inspired by God. Then what happens if some of them are not faithful to God? Their faithlessness doesn’t nullify God’s faithfulness, [Read More...]

Retelling Romans 1:18-2:16

“God’s anger is being poured out from heaven on all the godlessness and injustice of those people who, in their wickedness, suppress the truth. Because that which can be known about God is known to them – God has made it known! From the creation of the cosmos, God’s invisible aspects (God’s everlasting power and divinity) [Read More...]

Retelling Romans 1:8-17

First, I give thanks to my God, through Jesus the appointed king, for all of you, because your faithfulness to God is being reported all over the world. God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the good news concerning his son, as I constantly make mention of you, always asking in [Read More...]

Retelling Romans: Introduction

I have long said I wanted to write a “blogmentary” (blog commentary) on Romans. I think what I really wanted to do, above all else, is try retelling Paul’s letter to the Romans so that it can be heard afresh by a modern Christian audience. One big challenge for Christian readers of the Bible is the [Read More...]

Doctor Who, Judaism, and the Ineffable Name

Tablet magazine has an article about Doctor Who from a Jewish perspective. It includes less well known details, such as the Jewish background of the show’s creator Sydney Newman, as well as more familiar topics such as the depiction of Nazism in the form of the Daleks, and the seemingly ineffable name of the Doctor [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...]

Jesus’ Family and Modern Bethlehem

The blog +972 shared the news earlier today that the Israeli embassy in Ireland had posted a derogatory status update about Palestinians, in connection with Jesus and Mary, on their Facebook page: A thought for Christmas…If Jesus and mother Mary were alive today, they would, as Jews without security, probably end up being lynched in [Read More...]

Mandaeans and Other Marsh Arabs

Via Access to Mideast and Islamic Resources, I learned of the Marsh Arabs Heritage Project, which looks at the cultural, religious, and social life of the marshlands of Southern Iraq, including the Mandaeans, but also Muslims, Jews, Christians, Yezidis and others. The pdf downloads appear not to have been added yet, but there is in [Read More...]


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