Your Terrifying Techno-Fascist Quote of the Day

Pakistani tribesmen protest against US missile strikes

“It is not my belief that an unmanned system will be able to be perfectly ethical in the battlefield, but I am convinced that they can perform more ethically than human soldiers are capable of.” –Ronald Arkin, Georgia Institute of Technology– What’s the man talking about? Autonomous drones: dumb metal programmed by fallible humans to wage a more [Read More...]

Burial in Ancient Israel Part 2: Early Ossuaries and Shaft Tombs

Ossuary of the Chalcolithic Period, designed to resembled a home

This is an ongoing series about graves and tombs in the ancient Levant, from the Paleolithic Period until the time of Christ. The entire series can be found here. During the Chalcolithic Period (the “Copper Age”), a new kind of burial started appearing along the coastal plain, at sites like Azor, Bene-Berak, and Hedera. This [Read More...]

Burial in Ancient Israel Part 1: The First Graves

Human remains from es-Skhul

Rather than just leaving you postless and bereft as I work on an essay, I decided to share little slices of it over the course of the week. The essay concerns burial practices in the Levant, from the earliest evidence up to the time of Christ. The way we handle our dead is of immense cultural significance, [Read More...]

Smithsonian Yanks “Jesus’s Wife”

As I mentioned on Tuesday, Smithsonian had a documentary called “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” ready to run at 8pm on Sunday night. In the wake of numerous claims that the fragment is a forgery, they’ve decided to postpone that documentary pending additional testing. From USA Today: The Smithsonian Channel has postponed plans to broadcast [Read More...]

Study the Catechism in a Year With Logos

yearoffaith

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, and to offer a opportunity to reflect on the gift of our faith, Pope Benedict has declared a Year of Faith beginning October 11th. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wants this to a be a year for people to “deepen their knowledge [Read More...]

“At any rate, a fake”

That’s the verdict of Giovanni Maria Vian, editor of L’Osservatore Romano (the newspaper of the Vatican) and an expert on patristic philology, on the “Jesus’s Wife” frament. Coptic Scholar Alberto Camplani seconded the opinion. The statements appeared in a pair of stories in today’s edition of L’Osservatore Romano, which of course means the headlines tomorrow will be “Vatican [Read More...]

Doctors Grow An Ear On Woman’s Arm

original

Once again, the human body and human genius collaborate on something that’s … incredibly disgusting. But also very cool. The story: The discovery of a rapidly-spreading basal cell cancer in her ear in 2008 required the removal of part of her ear, part of her skull and her left ear canal. But now, in a [Read More...]

Civility and the New Media

Kofc

The Knights of Columbus has an ongoing Campaign for Civility that aims to promote a more civil discourse in American politics, and I just contributed two pieces to their efforts. The goal is to dial down the rancor that characterizes so much political dialog, and which has contributed to the hardening divisions between ideological opponents. Civility is not always easy, and [Read More...]

Rumor: Harvard Theological Review Divorces “Jesus’s Wife” UPDATE: Or do they?

I was waiting for something more official, but the word is that the Harvard Theological Review has decided against publishing Karen King’s paper on the “Jesus’s Wife” fragment. It’s still just rumors, but the source of the story appears to be the NT Scholar Helmut Koester, and it’s percolated through enough sites without outright denials [Read More...]

Jesus’s “Wife” Hoax: Smithsonian To Air Documentary About the Fragment

jesussmith

This Sunday! That was fast. The Smithsonian Channel (unofficial motto: “Doing Our Part to Make America Dumber”) is airing a documentary about “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” on Sunday, less than two weeks after its revelation to the world. It will be interesting to hear reactions from defenders of Karen King who said she handled this [Read More...]

Remember When They Discovered Mona Lisa’s Grave?

As it turns out, they didn’t. I posted on the story back in July, with the team reporting that they had found the final resting place of Lisa del Giocondo, the model for Leonardo’s Mona Lisa. Wellllll… not so much, it turns out.  Archaeologists who found the remains in July, earlier thought it to be of [Read More...]

3D Printing an Extinct Mollusk

reconstruction11

I don’t want GATM to become ALL 3D PRINTING ALL THE TIME!, but I just love this stuff. A mollusk known as “Protobalanus spinicoronatus” went extinct about 390 million years ago. The little critter had an impressive ring of spikes for protection, and a single suction foot. The fossils are all fragmentary, and thus paleontologists [Read More...]

More From Francis Watson on “Jesus’s Wife” Fragment

Mark Goodacre has a supplemental report from Francis Watson of Durham University, who provided the initial report suggesting the fragment is a modern forgery. This one is called “Addendum: The End of the Line?” It’s interesting to see how the internet is shaping this story. In his first paragraph, Professor Watson mentions a comment by renowned Biblical scholar Richard [Read More...]

Expert: “Jesus’s Wife” Fragment a Modern Forgery

It may not be a smoking gun, but it’s Col. Mustard in the Conservatory. The awesome Dale Price turned up this story in the Guardian, which is based on this report by Francis Watson of Durham University, first shared by Mark Goodacre. What’s the proof? The fragment appears to have been composed from pieces of [Read More...]

Gospel of Thomas: A Few Thoughts and Some Excerpts

One thing to keep in mind with the Jesus’s wife story is that it’s all bound up in trends and obsessions in certain academic quarters devoted to study the Christian Gnostics. One of their chief texts is the “Gospel” of Thomas, a text dating to the late 2nd century or later. Thomas is important because it [Read More...]


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