Jesus notebooks?

Bible scholars, including those of the conservative variety, often talk about an oral tradition and its role in the composition of the Gospels.  But we now know that in the ancient world disciples recorded their teacher’s words in notebooks.  So says Michael F. Bird.  (You can check his footnotes.): It was quite common among literary elites of the Greco-Roman world to take notes (hypomemata, commentarii) as an aid to learning.[3] Greek gnomai (sayings) and chreiai (short story) collections provided short… Read more

Has Lutheranism caused secularism?

A Danish scholar looks at the influence of Protestantism–specifically, Lutheranism–on modern Scandinavian culture.  Some of her conclusions: Lutheran Protestants are free from religiosity For centuries, Lutheran Protestant Christianity in Northern Europe and the US taught our ancestors that there was nothing they could do to make God think better of them. Neither good deeds nor giving money to the church was seen as having importance in the eyes of God. “For Protestants, life can be good just as it is…. Read more

The liberties of groups

We have blogged about universities banning Christian groups unless they are willing to accept non-Christian members and leaders.  The Supreme Court has just refused to hear a case questioning this practice.  See Supreme Court declines religious liberty case. Meanwhile, Michael Stokes Paulsen, while blasting Vanderbilt University for doing this, goes on to argue that Vanderbilt has the right to do so, the same right that protects Christian colleges: Groups, as well as individuals, possess the “freedom of speech.” Just as… Read more

An inside perspective on the Islamic-friendly Bible

You probably missed the comment on the Islamic-friendly Bibles post last week by David Harriman, who worked for the missionary agency that put out the translation in question.  (I continue to be amazed at who all reads this blog.)  He offered an insider’s perspective that I wanted all of you to see: Dear Gene, For 18 years I served as director of development/director of advancement for Frontiers, the ministry which produced this  Turkish translation of Matthew.  While I believe the… Read more

Pepsi’s use of aborted fetal cells

I had assumed this was just a wild rumor, but Pepsi really is using the bodies of aborted children to make its products–not for cannibalism but in product testing.   And the Obama administration has given its approval.   From Lifesite: PepsiCo has come under fire from pro-life advocates because it has been contracting with a research firm that uses fetal cells from babies victimized by abortions to test and produce artificial flavor enhancers. Now, the Obama administration is set to face… Read more

Posthumous conception

The Supreme Court heard a case (Astrue v. Capato) on Monday that hinged on determining the inheritance rights of children conceived by artificial insemination after their father’s death. Robert and Karen Capato’s twins were born in 2003 — 18 months after Robert Capato’s death. And in its first review of “posthumous conception,” the ­Supreme Court on Monday struggled to align modern reproductive techniques to a federal law written in 1939. In the end, the justices generally sounded disinclined to award… Read more

Santorum & Opus Dei

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is often assumed by the media, the general public, his supporters, his opponents, and evangelicals to be an evangelical.  He isn’t.  He is a Roman Catholic.  In fact, he is really, really Catholic, a fellow-traveller with Opus Dei, an organization that some say is more Catholic than the Pope.  This article gives the details of his pilgrimage to an ever-stricter Catholicism:  Rick Santorum’s journey to devout Catholicism, view of religion in governance – The Washington… Read more

Santorum vs. pornography

Rick Santorum has just lost the porn-lovers’ vote, probably dooming his candidacy: Rick Santorum has a message for America’s smut merchants: Prepare for battle. If elected, the GOP presidential candidate writes in a position paper widely circulated this week, he would order his attorney general to “vigorously enforce” existing laws that “prohibit distribution of hardcore (obscene) pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops and through the mail or by common carrier.” “The Obama administration… Read more

The Jimmy Carter Study Bible

Zondervan has published a study Bible based on former president Jimmy Carter’s Sunday school notes:   : Jimmy Carter, peanut farmer turned president turned globe-trotting humanitarian, now has another line to add to his business card: Bible commentator. Last week Carter published a Lessons from Life Study Bible, with the subtitle Personal Reflections with Jimmy Carter. With many Democrats embracing the language of faith in recent years in an attempt to win back so-called values voters from the Republican column,… Read more

Towards the end of cash

Sweden was the first country to introduce paper banknotes, back in 1661.  And now it is on the verge of being the first country to eliminate cash altogether: In most Swedish cities, public buses don’t accept cash; tickets are prepaid or purchased with a cell phone text message. A small but growing number of businesses only take cards, and some bank offices — which make money on electronic transactions — have stopped handling cash altogether. “There are towns where it… Read more

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