Does the Qur’an Promote Violence?

I have been a member of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) since 1999. Since then, I have attended all of its Annual Meetings except one. The American Academy of Religion and SBL join together to hold this Annual Meeting. These meetings are held the weekend prior to Thanksgiving in the large downtown convention center of a large city in North America. Thousands of scholars who are members or SBL and AAR attend. Perhaps a thousand sessions or more of approximately 2.5 hours are conducted in … [Read more...]

Is Mitt Romney’s Integrity in Decline?

U. S. President-elect Donald Trump, a Republican, is meeting with Republican Mitt Romney to consider appointing him as his Secretary of State, and Romney is acquiescing. Both moves are mind-blowing.No one spoke out more fully and strongly against Donald Trump during the campaign for president than did Mitt Romney. He said, "Mr. Trump is a con man and a fake." Romney later said, "Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He's playing … [Read more...]

Did Jesus Need the Holy Spirit?

Luke says in his gospel that "Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his work" (Luke 3.23 NRSV). But Jesus had been doing work many years prior as an artisan. The biblical description of Jesus as a tekton is usually translated "carpenter" (Mark 6.3; cf. Matt. 13.55); but it has a wider range of meaning that can include building things with wood, stone, and even metal. But Luke here refers to Jesus' public, itinerant ministry that he was just beginning as a prophet, sage, healer, and … [Read more...]

Will the R&A Thump Turnberry Due to Trump?

Ten years ago, billionaire real estate mogul and now U.S. president-elect Donald Trump started a project of building a world-class golf resort, which would have two 18-hole golf courses, in Balmedie in northeast Scotland near the city of Aberdeen. Trump International Golf Links is located amidst 4,000 year-old, pristine sand dunes that some Scots regard as a national treasure. It overlooks the North Sea with its deep sea oil reserves that have made some citizens of Aberdeen wealthy. But Trump's … [Read more...]

No More Jacob Neusner at SBL

Jacob Neusner died on October 8 this year at 84 years of age. He was a very prolific scholar who highly influenced American Jewish studies of religion. Neusner was a pioneer in studying Judaism in relation to Christianity. And he was a fixture at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, which will occur this weekend. I'm sure Dr. Neusner will be sorely missed there by many, especially his publishers. Jacob Neusner is most known for having written or edited 950 … [Read more...]

Astrologer John Hogue Got It Wrong the Thirteenth Time

John Hogue is an astrologist and an expert on Nostradamus who regularly appears on national television promoting his viewpoints. He has written 600 articles and 35 books. His biggest claim to fame is that, until last week, he predicted the election of the past twelve U.S. presidents. If true, that's a pretty impressive record. Frankly, I don't see how he is old enough to have done that.But last week, John Hogue the rogue--an astrologer with a dark, long beard--misread the stars or whatever … [Read more...]

Trump for Israel?

Donald Trump--a non-politician and multi-billionaire real estate magnate--became president-elect of the USA last Tuesday. It is turning the USA upside down. Almost all of the dozens of professional pollsters were wrong. They had the Democratic nominee--former First Lady and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton--ahead by an average of 5% of the popular vote. Actually, she did barely win the popular vote but still lost because the USA has a unique Electoral College that decides the victor.What is … [Read more...]

The Electoral College Is a Farce

Hilary Clinton won the so-called "popular vote" for the U.S. presidency this week, but Donald Trump became president. How so? Our arcane, outdated, Electoral College. The New York Times informs today in the first three paragraphs of an article:"In November 2000, as the Florida recount gripped the nation, a newly elected Democratic senator from New York took a break from an upstate victory tour to address the possibility that Al Gore could wind up winning the popular vote but losing the … [Read more...]