Star Trek Discovery: Choose Your Pain

Episode 5 of the first season of Star Trek: Discovery begins with Michael Burnham having a dream in which she, rather than the giant tardigrade, is serving as the link between the ship’s navigation system and its spore drive – causing her intense pain. Precisely when Michael is concerned that each jump harms the tardigrade, Capt. Lorca is abducted by Klingons, which necessitates that the Discovery make multiple jumps. In a Klingon prison cell, Lorca meets Harcourt Fenton Mudd. Mudd comments… Read more

A Complicated Pregnancy

Let me share my blurb endorsing Kyle Roberts’ new book: In A Complicated Pregnancy, Kyle Roberts offers a dramatic, sincerely honest, and deeply personal exploration of the question of Jesus’ virginal conception. While many other books wrestle with this topic primarily from another angle (that of historical uncertainty and Gospel discrepancies, which Roberts does also cover), in Roberts’ book a profoundly theological approach dominates, as he surveys a wide array of famous and neglected early Christian authors. He also invites… Read more

Scholars Using Social Media

Larry Hurtado, Deane Galbraith, Scot McKnight, and Bob Cornwall are among those who’ve already mentioned a new book that many more contributed to, including myself: Thomas Jay Oord’s edited volume, Theologians and Philosophers Using Social Media: Advice, Tips, and Testimonials. I haven’t had the time to really explore the other contributions to the volume yet, and so I thought I’d post this notice about the book, and encourage others to explore it and share their thoughts about it, while also planning to say… Read more

Chuck the Checklists

I have been a fan of the CRAP test, but a recent article by John Warner in Inside Higher Ed has me rethinking this. The article points out that knowledge and motivation are essential to getting at the truth, and no checklist can effectively substitute for those things. Here is an excerpt: Experienced academics don’t actually use the CRAAP test. The CRAAP test is an approximation of a much more sophisticated process rooted in that domain knowledge. Giving it to… Read more

Michael Pahl on Jesus and Gehenna

In a recent blog post, Michael Pahl wrote the following about Jesus and “hell”- or rather, Gehenna, a reference to the Hinnom Valley. But what was the significance of that valley? The idea that it was a burning trash heap seems to come into existing literature only later. And so Pahl suggests looking at Jeremiah 7 instead. From that text, Pahl draws a number of conclusions: 1) The fires of Gehenna were made by humans, not by God. In fact,… Read more

Mythicists Shock Bart Ehrman, Set Off Jonathan Tweet

Jonathan Tweet has shared thoughts about his recent debate with Richard Carrier. Here is an excerpt: While preparing for the debate, I was shocked to find out how insulting Dr Carrier is to other scholars. His negative words about Bart Ehrman were particularly galling since I have read a lot of Ehrman’s work and value his contributions to my understanding of early Christian history. Ehrman has taken it on himself to popularize Jesus research so that regular folks like you… Read more

Star Trek Discovery: The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry

The fourth episode of Star Trek: Discovery focuses on a number of points related to perceptions, stereotypes and assumptions, whether on the part of a Klingon who is concerned with purity and refuses to plunder the Shenzhou, or humans who assume that an oversized tardigrade is a monster capable of being weaponized. We also see a Klingon praying to his messiah T’Kuvma. And we get a mention of the Elon Musk in between the Wright Brothers and Zephram Cochrane. We… Read more

Sunrise Serenade

Does anyone know what happened to all the pages on Facebook (most of which were auto-generated from Wikipedia) about composers? I am sure that I liked a page for Aulis Sallinen at some point years ago on Facebook. Now there seems to be nothing there. I guess we’ll just have to use blogs to express our opinions about music from now on. Scores on Demand has a version of the sheet music for this piece, “Sunrise Serenade,” that you can… Read more

Of the Burning of Books There is no End

Tim O’Neill, on his blog History for Atheists, has tackled another widely-held misrepresentation, namely that Christians in ancient times typically conspired to destroy and suppress secular and/or “pagan” literature. Here is an excerpt: What people like Nixey neglect to mention is the fact while some prominent clergy argued that the Bible and the works of the Church fathers were sufficient for a Christian’s education, other argued that all knowledge came ultimately from God and so “pagan” learning was a gift… Read more

Before Common Calendar

Doug Chaplin writes: For me, the biggest objection to replacing BC/AD with BCE/CE is that it is fundamentally dishonest. For better or worse, we have a global dating system because the world was pretty much conquered by Christian imperialist powers who could enforce European Christendom norms on the rest of the globe. Calling the time since the approximate date of Jesus’ birth “Common Era” as though this is a matter of mutual agreement, and nothing to do with a particular… Read more

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