Most readers of this blog will have heard this news: “The University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point plans to address “fiscal challenges” by expanding some academic programs and discontinuing others, it announced Monday. Tenured faculty positions are at stake, with possible layoffs occurring by 2020.” That (rather than comparable developments in Denmark) is presumably what motivated the article by Ryan Craig, suggesting that universities ought to kill, cull, and/or close “underperforming” academic programs. There is, needless to say, a great… Read more

The last episode of The X-Files may well be the last episode not just of season 11 but of The X-Files as a whole (although series creator Chris Carter still thinks there is more in its future). Those who have read my book Theology and Science Fiction will know that I follow Doug Cowan in emphasizing the importance of offering deeper analysis than merely noticing Christ figures. But in the case of this episode, we are clearly supposed to notice a Christ… Read more

Charlotte Hempel shared this news on Facebook: We are today launching the STECA Blog – A Virtual Common Room for Doctoral Researchers and Early Career Researchers in Second Temple Judaism and beyond. Take a look and we hope you enjoy our monthly group-blog. Meet the great ECR Team: Mike DeVries (Birmingham) Marieke Dhont (Cambridge) Jessica Mary Keady (Trinity St Davids, Wales) Joseph Scales (Birmingham) and Elisa Uusimaki (Helsinki). We are international and collaborative in spirit and already proud to work… Read more

Some months ago, there was a Salon article about Stairway to Heaven and what is really there when it is played backwards. I’ve been thinking for a while now that there is a useful comparison that can be made between the phenomenon of people detecting backwards messages in rock music, and the detection of alleged signs of forgery (supposedly reflecting homosexual emphases and overtones) in the Secret Gospel of Mark. Just like the meme that “there are backwards messages in… Read more

I received an e-mail from a blog reader a while back, and have long meant to share it here in case others found it – and my reply – interesting. Dear Dr McGrath I have been a follower of your blog for a while now, always enjoyed hearing your opinions on religion and biblical interpretation. While I appreciate that you are doubt a busy person, I had a couple of questions in regards to some of the things I’ve read… Read more

One of the questions that I ask students in my course on the Bible and music is “what does crucifixion sound like?” We survey a range of treatments of the passion story that involve music, including straight settings of biblical text, classic oratorios that combine biblical and other material in their libretto, and also cinematic depictions. The contrast between the music that accompanies some of the crucifixion scenes in this latter category is very striking indeed. Here are some examples:… Read more

There was quite a bit of discussion a while back about whether the Muslim God and the Christian God are the “same God.” I had said a little about the topic in some posts written at that time. But now I want to explore some related questions in more detail, in response to a blog reader who contacted me (longer ago than I care to admit!) to ask me what I thought about certain matters. Here is the relevant part of what he… Read more

When this was shared on Facebook, the following question was posed in a comment: Did God banish Satan because he thought dinosaurs were better, or because Satan used poor grammar? While I could have just shared this bit of humor and been done with it, I actually feel I should follow with something a bit more serious, because there is something of a connection – indeed, a fairly direct one – with a topic that we discussed in my Sunday… Read more

The episode starts with doctors harvesting organs. We hear a snippet of talk radio about chemtrails, and then get to see a vampire hunter, who uses biblical and other Christian religious language, praying for mercy and crossing herself. In the Cathedral of the Sacraments in Washington DC, a priest speaks of eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ, reading from John 6. Scully is attending the service when she gets a phone call. Mulder and Scully go to… Read more

April DeConick shared this information about a conference that is coming up very soon – in less than two weeks, in fact! Gnostic America Conference I am pleased to announce the Gnostic America Conference.  We will convene at Rice University on March 28-31.  The conference is free and open to the public.  We are exploring the afterlives of Gnosticism in America. In addition to cutting-edge paper presentations by 20 international scholars and graduate students, we have some spectacular special events… Read more

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