On My Way to Boston for #AARSBL17

I’m planning on having my blogging over the coming days be about the conference in Boston, this year’s joint annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature. Below are some updates about where to find me during the conference. But let me start by noting that I would normally have tried to get to Boston Chowda in the Prudential Center food court for lunch daily, but the entire food court was done away with, and so… Read more

Gara and Faraj Garayev

I can’t believe that it took me until now to discover the music of Azerbaijani composer Gara Garayev (sometimes spelled Kara Karayev). He was one of Dmitri Shostakovich’s students, but his style is much more in a late Romantic style than his teacher’s neoclassicism. Here is his Albanian Rhapsody – you’ve surely heard Hungarian and Romanian Rhapsodies, and probably other national pieces, but Albania is as underrepresented in this musical genre, as Garayev is less well-known than he deserves: Here… Read more

Fan Fiction and Ancient Scribal Cultures #CFP

A call for papers that some readers of this blog will be very interested in: This special issue of TWC explores the potential of fan fiction as an interpretative model to study ancient religious texts. Fan fiction writers are readers of texts who become writers of their own texts. Fans engage with the universe created by the makers of a specific series, film, or book, to which they refer as “canonical” material. For example, they create new storylines, “repair” plots… Read more

Star Trek: Discovery – Into the Forest I Go

The episode begins with Captain Lorca receiving an order from a StarFleet admiral to return to Federation territory rather than engaging the Klingon Ship of the Dead, leaving Pahvo undefended. Instead, he looks for a solution, and they come up with a plan to gather data about their cloaking device, using Discovery’s spore drive making multiple micro-jumps. Lorca shares with Lt. Stamitz, the navigator who has interfaced with the spore drive, that they have detected pockets of negative energy as a result… Read more

Matthew 25 (FOMO Edition)

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten teenagers who took their phones and waited for something to happen. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their phones but did not take their charging cables with them. The wise ones, however, took their chargers along with their phones. It was a long time before something interesting happened, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the alert sound was heard and a text appeared: ‘Hey, party at my place!’ Then all the teenagers woke up… Read more

Database of New Testament Conjectural Emendations

I’ve been meaning since Peter Gurry blogged about it last year to mention the launch of the online Database of Conjectural Emendations. Just type in a verse or passage and it will inform you about suggestions about other readings that scholars have considered, even though they are not found in any extant manuscript. This is a good resource for understanding both the liberties scholars sometimes take in imagining how things might have happened in spite of the evidence we have,… Read more

Jesus and the Gospels Museum

The Center for the Study of Christian Origins shared the news a while back about the launch of the “Jesus and the Gospels Museum” on the University of Edinburgh website. It includes information about a number of sites, manuscripts, and much else related to the history of Christian origins. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to go explore it! Also of interest, the online information portal 4Enoch has added material about Emperor Nero. Read more

Not to Miss at #AARSBL17 on Sunday, November 19th

There are two events that I unfortunately cannot attend at AAR/SBL in Boston, but which I want to highlight nonetheless for the benefit of others who may not have the scheduling conflicts that alas will keep me from them. First, there is the Wiki, Women, and Bible Workshop and Happy Hour which will take place on Sunday, November 19th at 5:30pm in the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center, Room 200 (Second Level). There is a Facebook event for this (where… Read more

Star Trek: Discovery – Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

With the proverb “If you want peace, prepare for war” as its title, it isn’t surprising that episode 8 of the first season of Star Trek: Discovery starts with a battle scene, focuses on a plan to overcome the Klingon cloaking device technology, and features elements that resonate with the Cold War era context of the original series, such as L’Rell, a Klingon who claims that she wants to defect to the Federation. For those interested in how the show… Read more

The Trolley Problem Problem

Since today I will be talking about the ethics of driverless cars, I of course was struck by these words in an article about the famous trolley problem: In real life, very few people face trolley problems, unless their job is literally to program collision avoidance algorithms for driverless cars. In (presumably deliberate) contrast to the paralyzing ambiguity at the heart of the trolley problem, the article’s title is not in the slightest bit ambiguous as to what the authors think: “The… Read more

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