Hurricanes and Divine Wrath

One can understand the inclination to think of hurricanes as expressions of anger. Even the metaphors we use – furious howling winds, lashing rain, and so on – draw from such imagery. But there are problems with attempting to take this view literally, especially in light of our meteorological understanding of climate, weather, and storms, but even just in terms of the way God ends up being thought of when one views God as attacking sinners with a scattergun that… Read more

here there

I had the privilege of hearing the above piece by Ingrid Stölzel at a recital given by Ascending Duo some time back. You can hear more of Stölzel’s music on her Soundcloud page. The program at that performance also included “What I Heard” by Bryce Fuhrman.   Read more

#CFP : Syriac and its Users in the Early Modern World, c.1500-c.1750

CALL FOR PAPERS: Syriac and its Users in the Early Modern World, c.1500-c.1750 A workshop at the University of Oxford, 15-16 March 2018* The vast majority of scholarship on Syriac has focused on Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Yet Syriac continued to be used, as a liturgical, literary and living language, across the early modern period and beyond. Guides to Syriac literature sometimes give the impression that new textual production had effectively ceased by 1500. But new texts did… Read more

Dots, Marginalia and Peritexts in Middle Eastern Manuscripts Workshop

Dots, Marginalia and Peritexts in Middle Eastern Manuscripts Workshop Venue Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton Date June 11–12, 2018 Conveners Sabine Schmidtke and George A. Kiraz (Institute for Advanced Study) Manuscripts often contain far more material than the words that form their primary texts: dots and various other symbols that mark vowels (in the case of Semitic languages), intonation, readings aids, and other textual markers; marginal notes and sigla and interlinear annotations that provide additional explanatory content akin to but… Read more

Doctor Who: The Pirate Planet

The Pirate Planet is not an episode that only die hard Doctor Who fans should watch. Written by Douglas Adams, this second episode in the Key to Time sequence is full of the humor one would expect if one is familiar with his other writing. It features not only the robot dog that you have already come to know and love, but also a robot parrot, and robotic dog and parrot facing off against one another. But it also has the quite… Read more

Lucian of Samosata’s Science Fiction

I have been meaning to blog about Lucian of Samosata since Lorraine Boissoneault wrote an article about him for Smithsonian magazine towards the end of last year. It discusses the question of whether Lucian’s work fits the genre of science fiction, discussing other contenders for the “first work of science fiction” such as the Epic of Gilgamesh, Johannes Kepler’s novel Somnium, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. There is also a very good article about Lucian in ARAMCO World. It highlights his identity as a native speaker of Syriac,… Read more

Opening for Scholarly Communications Librarian at Butler University

One of the many job openings listed on the Butler website at the moment: Scholarly Communication Librarian  Position Overview Butler University Libraries invite applications for a Scholarly Communication Librarian, a 12-month, non-tenured (continuing appointment) position with the rank of assistant professor, reporting to the Associate Dean for Collections and Digital Services. The Scholarly Communication Librarian position provides leadership for scholarly communication and digital scholarship initiatives at Butler University Libraries. Scholarly communication is a strategic priority for Butler Libraries and this… Read more

Community Baptist Church

I don’t see the problem, necessarily. It is true that few Baptist churches – and perhaps no Baptist churches in our time – are “Communist Churches.” But the meme seems to assume that they could not be, as though there were inherently something unthinkable about the idea. And while that may be true of Marxist/Leninist Communism, which had a distinctly anti-religious bent to it, the Communist Manifesto itself mentions other already-existing forms of communism, among with are Christian varieties. What… Read more

Terrible Review of What Sounds Like a Terrible Book

The quotations in the image below, which is embedded in the review of David Fitzgerald’s latest (three-volume!) book of half-baked and poorly-argued nonsense that appeared on the blog Debunking Christianity, is supposed to boil down what is positive about his books to their essence. But in fact it illustrates his inability to recognize when he doesn’t have a valid point and/or is not making a logical, reasoned argument. Here is the image: Let’s consider each of the two points above. First,… Read more

Illicit Antiquities Educational Games?

The illegal smuggling of antiquities has been in the news a lot lately (although it has never been entirely absent in living memory, alas). I wonder whether there are games that could be used to teach about this topic in a manner that is fun, and yet does not reward players for doing things that are illegal and/or immoral – or, if it does, at least brings the ethical issues into the player’s conscious awareness in the process. Thebes is one that looks particularly… Read more

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