Thomas Adès – In Seven Days

“In Seven Days” by Thomas Adès is an unusual composition exploring the seven days of creation in Genesis 1-2, not least because it incorporates visual images as part of the composition, along with some more traditional elements that one typically finds in a piano concerto. And so the piece is sold as a CD and DVD set. Tom Freudenheim wrote in a review of the piece, “Swept up from the tohu-bohu of unruly waves, the audience is buffeted by the… Read more

A Polite Bribe (and its Sequel)

Robert Orlando shared with me that he will be releasing a sequel to his movie Apostle Paul: A Polite Bribe next year, and asked me to share the information below about it. For those who may not remember, I blogged about Apostle Paul: A Polite Bribe twice, and also shared a Q&A with the filmmaker. Apostle Paul: A Polite Bribe: Interview with the Director The filmmaker Robert Orlando has been mesmerized by the Apostle Paul since reading the Bible as… Read more

The PACA Plan and the Second American Civil War

A flyer about the PACA (“Pray America Christian Again”) Plan was stuck on the outside door of my church, and the person who found it gave it to me. It is an effort not to simply pray, but to try to get Christians elected in all government positions. From the flyer, one learns that they have some specific Christians in mind, since Hillary Clinton is vilified with either no awareness of the fact, or no willingness to recognize, that she is… Read more

Whovian Reformation and Holofernes’ Tweets

A recent article on IO9 asked what the most frustrating revision to canon was in a franchise. It was asking about science fiction fandom canons, of course, and focused in on the example of the War Doctor on Doctor Who. But since it did so at a time that coincides not only with the 4.5th anniversary of “The Name of the Doctor,” but also with the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, I am delighted (as you know I always am)… Read more

Star Trek: Discovery – Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad

Online outlets as different as Forbes and IndieWire agree that Star Trek: Discovery has taken a seriously well-worn stereotyped elements of sci fi, the time loop, and done something not only distinctive but memorable with it. For me, I think it is the relational focus that adds that something special and makes it stand out. But the episode is not without shortcomings. The episode begins with Michael Burnham facing a great challenge for someone who had been living according to Vulcan principles:… Read more

A.I. Am

Brandon Withrow has a new article out, about “The New Religions Obsessed with A.I.” It includes quotes from me and a number of other people who were interviewed. It is unfortunate that Anthony Levandowski declined to provide an interview or comment. He has been mentioned a lot in the news lately, because he wants to create an AI that will be or become a deity and be worshiped. He calls this religion “Way of the Future”. I really appreciate what Steve Wiggins has written in response to Levandowski:… Read more

Confucius, Socrates, and Isaac Asimov Walk Into A Bar…

I am so delighted with the poster that my talented colleague Rebecca DeGrazia created for an upcoming brown bag talk that I will be giving at Butler University together with my colleague from computer science, Ankur Gupta. We’ve begun working together on a project related to “artificial wisdom,” and this talk will represent our first public foray into one aspect of that larger project. Here’s the blurb: “Confucius, Socrates, and Asimov Walk into a Bar– and in front of a… Read more

Saudi Sophia

Have you seen the news that a robot named Sophia was granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia? The ABC News article included the following comments: Sophia appeared on stage alone, without the modest dress required of Saudi women; she donned no hijab, or headscarf, nor abaya, or cloak. She also did not appear to have a male guardian, as required by Saudi law for women in the country. Male guardians, often a male relative, must give permission before women can travel… Read more

Sibyl Beyond the Gate

There are multiple works by Stephanie Ann Boyd whose titles resonate for those who study ancient literature and religion. Her compositions are extremely accessible, being beautiful without ceasing to be contemporary. Here is “Beyond the Gate”:     And here is Eunae Koh performing her violin concerto, “Sibyl”:     You can explore and enjoy more of Boyd’s music on her SoundCloud page. Read more

What’s So Funny? #CFP

What’s So Funny? Discovering and Interpreting Humor in the Ancient World A conference to be held at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted by email to by 30 November 2017. Please include “Humor Conference Abstract” and your name in the subject line A conference to be held at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Keynote Speakers: • Jack M. Sasson (Emeritus Professor, Vanderbilt University) • Ian Ruffell (Classics, University… Read more

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