Luther and technology

David Gibson of Religious News Service tells about three major exhibitions opening this month on Luther’s Reformation:  at the Morgan Library in New York City; at the Minneapolis Art Institute; and at Emory University in Atlanta. These sound extremely interesting and worth going to.

I was struck by what the Morgan library curator says about Luther’s use of the new information technology of the time (with the assistance of artist and printer Lucas Cranach).  See what he says after the jump.  But read Gibson’s whole article, which includes the point about how Luther became the model for “speaking truth to power.”
[Read more…]

Did the Greeks make China’s terracotta army?

Archaeologists have discovered European DNA at the site where those 8,000 lifesize terracotta soldiers guard the tomb of China’s first Emperor.  They are concluding that Greek sculptors may have been involved with their creation, especially since the realistic statues correspond to Greek styles and techniques.

They were made in the 3rd century B.C., which means that the contact between West and East pre-dated Marco Polo by some 1500 years. The Emperor may have become aware of Greek statuary as a result of Alexander the Great’s march to India a century earlier.

I would say, however, that while the Greeks might have had a role in making the individual statues, the Greeks never used art on such a colossal scale.  Greek sculpture honors the individual.  This army of statues is profoundly collectivist.  So the Chinese can still claim credit.

Photo Credit:  Creative Commons. The Chronicles of Mariane.

[Read more…]

Hezekiah’s toilet

Archaeologists have excavated a site identified with the rule of Hezekiah.  It includes a shrine with horned altars with the horns knocked off.  Also in the shrine:  a stone latrine.  Scientists have determined that it had never been used, so it was apparently put in just to desecrate the shrine.

This would seem to be evidence of Hezekiah’s crackdown on idolatrous worship.  In fact, there is a Biblical text about it:

“Then they demolished the pillar of Baal, and destroyed the temple of Baal, and made it a latrine to this day” (2 Kings 10:27).

[Read more…]

Question for Colin Kaepernick

My cousin Bob Foote has a question for Colin Kaepernick and other athletes protesting the American flag because of how this country treats black people:

During the Civil War, some 500,000 men gave their lives to end slavery.  They fought and died under what flag?

All Americans are Whigs

Lutheran political scientist James R. Rogers explains things like gay marriage and transgender bathrooms–and the speed with which they became popular in the American mind–by pointing out that all Americans are basically Whigs.  That is, they believe that history is about unfolding progress and the progressive emancipation of human beings.  Both American liberals and conservatives, in different ways, are Whigs.  So are Christians as well as non-Christians.  (So let’s bring back the Whig party!)
[Read more…]

Sexual progress

I blogged about the book by my former student Matthew Rueger, Sexual Morality in a Christless World.  In it, he shows the sexual ethos of the ancient Greeks and Romans, which was dehumanizing, exploitive, and oppressive.  (He writes, for example, about the sexual use of male and female slaves.)  The advent of Christianity brought with it a new sexual ethos based on love, chastity, and fidelity.  Christianity brought progress in the way people treated each other sexually, but today we are reverting back to the bad old days of sexual paganism.

I’m glad to see that this book, published by CPH, is breaking out of just the Lutheran marketplace to get wider attention.  Right now it is Amazon’s #1 bestseller among religious books on gender & sexuality.  And it has attracted the attention of Eric Metaxas on the late Chuck Colson’s radio program Breakpoint.  He gives an excellent review of the book, excerpted after the jump. [Read more…]