Recently, Adam Kotsko blogged about Star Trek and canon (a subject of ongoing interest of mine, as you are undoubtedly well aware). Here is an excerpt from there: I am a Star Trek fan, and I’m here today to talk to you about canon. But I will warn all the hardcore fans who are relieved to be on safe territory: my fandom has taken a strange form. When I was a kid, I was a loyal Next Generation viewer, and I even read a… Read more

Tom Gauld’s cartoon from The Guardian is about a topic that I have understandably long been fascinated by, given my joint interests in history (in particular that of early Christianity) and time travel. It struck me anew as the TV show TIMELESS returned to our screens, with two historians, mother and daughter, finding themselves aligned on opposite sides of a conflict that involves traveling into the past to not merely observe history, but seek to change it. If there is a… Read more

The Material of Christian Apocrypha University of Virginia November 30 to December 1, 2018 Confirmed speakers: Mary Cunningham (Nottingham), Maria Evangelatou (University of Southern California), Derek Krueger (UNC Greensboro), and Robin Jensen (Notre Dame) We invite abstracts for a conference on the “Material of Christian Apocrypha,” hosted by the University of Virginia’s Department of Religious Studies and McIntire Department of Art, under the auspices of the North American Society for the Study of Christian Apocryphal Literature. We hope to assemble a group… Read more

I ended up not blogging right away about the week before last’s episode of The X-Files, not because it wasn’t engaging (it relates directly to a research area of mine, after all!) but because it had very little dialogue, and its one main point, while worth sharing, seemed too short a point to comment on in a blog post. But I’ve decided to return to the episode, for a number of reasons. The whole episode involves a range of fairly… Read more

Recently Brandon Hawk shared his thoughts on the Medieval manuscript prototypes for the insides of the Jedi sacred texts we see in “The Last Jedi” – with lots of photos of both! Here is an image of some sample pages from the Jedi scriptures: Steve Wiggins wrote about the significance of the appearance of sacred texts – in paper book form – in “The Last Jedi”: We’re never shown the inside of any of the books, but if the fact… Read more

The title of this X-Files episode, “Familiar,” is a perfect pun. The episode explores the idea of a witch’s familiar, but also the familiar unleashing of more mundane evil in small town America. The episode plays on the creepiness of characters in children’s television shows, at least when they are viewed from an adult perspective. Between that, the prospect of children being abducted and murdered, and the introduction of witchcraft, the episode focuses on some of the things that scare… Read more

It is long overdue for me to highlight this particular publishing opportunity for undergraduates. If there is something that my own institution does well, it is undergraduate research. In addition to having vibrant programs in fields such as psychology in which undergraduates work with faculty on research that leads to conference presentations and publications even while they are still undergrads, we also have other programs such as the Butler Summer Institute, an opportunity to work with a faculty supervisor during… Read more

I love teaching my course on the Bible and music! In the class period dedicated to the Exodus, we ranged through so many subjects, across thousands of years. We started off in Exodus 15, thinking about the “Song of the Sea” and the way music was used in times before widespread literacy and writing technology to convey information and pass it on from one generation to the next. (Schoolhouse Rock got a shout-out in that context). It is quite possible… Read more

I am delighted to be able to share information about this upcoming event at Butler University. You can find a poster of the above image in pdf form online on the Congregation Beth El-Zedeck website. Here are some additional details taken from the blurbs and other publicity materials you can find online about the event: “Jesus the Jewish Storyteller: Of Pearls and Prodigals” Thursday, March 22 at 7:00 p.m. in the Reilly Room in Atherton Union, Butler University Storytelling is… Read more

I have been meaning to blog about this topic ever since Hemant Mehta pointed out that there were young-earth creationists who were mocking flat-earthers for taking the Bible too literally. That hypocrisy continues, as Answers in Genesis just recently posted an article which says the following: Detractors of the Bible might point to passages like Isaiah 11:12, Revelation 7:1, and Revelation 20:8 to claim that the Bible teaches a flat earth. But the phrase, “the four corners of the earth,” must be interpreted within its… Read more

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