August 16, 2018

Several sources online have highlighted a new resource related to the study of Syriac literature: the Digital Syriac Corpus. As illustration of what is available, here is the beginning of Narsai’s work “On John the Baptist” so that you can see what happens when you copy and paste from the site: ܥܲܠ ܡܵܪܝ ܝܘܿܚܲܢܵܢ ܡܲܥܡܕܵܢ̇ܐ ܡܸܐܡܪܵܐ: ܘ܀ ܕܡܵܪܝ ܝܘܿܚܲܢܵܢ܀:ܕܝܼܠܹܗ ܟܲܕ ܕܝܼܠܹܗ ܡܸܐܪܵܐ ܕܫܬܿܐܕܡܵܪܝ ܝܘܿܚܲܢܵܢ ܡܲܥܡܕܵܢ̇ܐ܀:ܥܘܼܢܵܝܵܐ:ܫܘܼܒ̣ܚܵܐ ܠܗܵܘ̇ ܕܲܓܠܵܐ ܐ̄ܪܙܵܐ ܕܨܒܼܝܵܢܹܗ ܠܪܵܚܡܵܐ ܕܨܒܼܝܵܢܹܗ As you can see from the fairly clear text that has pasted, and from the hyperlinks in each word if you follow them, it is a very… Read more

August 15, 2018

This is yet another one of those blog posts that has been more than two years in the making, as I have continuously pasted in links, but failed to ever find or make the time to fully elaborate the germ of an idea that led to the creation of the draft post in the first place. As someone who has been involved in a number of different religious communities in different traditions, and who enjoys not only playing and listening… Read more

August 14, 2018

I shared an interview with Dennis Venema on Facebook, highlighting this quote from the piece: [T]he evidence is everywhere. It’s not just that a piece here and there fits evolution: it’s the fact that virtually none of the evidence we have suggests anything else. What you see presented as “problems for evolution” by Christian anti-evolutionary groups are typically issues that are taken out of context or (intentionally or not) misrepresented to their non-specialist audiences. For me personally (as a geneticist)… Read more

August 13, 2018

I think that one of the most effective tools to combat the false notion that there are any genuine “biblical literalists” may be to ask people to imagine themselves into the world as the ancient authors of the Bible assumed it to be. Here is what I wrote on this topic recently while sharing a blog post on a related topic on Facebook: It was interesting reading Steve Wiggins’ blog post about ancient Israelite cosmology, the idea of water as… Read more

August 12, 2018

I got permission to share this quote from a Facebook friend, which I think sums up an incredibly important and neglected point related to education: “Based on my experience in high school, university, and graduate school and now as I’m tutoring a refugee college student in English, no one ever teaches writing. They assign writing. They grade writing. But no one TEACHES writing. Writing instruction doesn’t exist. It’s just testing what we haven’t taught over and over again until the… Read more

August 11, 2018

I was fascinated by the recent New York Times article, “Inside the World of Racist Science Fiction.” Here’s an excerpt: It is unlikely that Mr. Trump has read any of these books. But members of his staff undoubtedly have. His former aide Steve Bannon is a fan of “The Camp of the Saints” and refers to it often — in knowing, offhand ways that betray both his familiarity with racist literature and his awareness of his target audience’s reading habits…. Read more

August 10, 2018

An article that my colleague Ankur Gupta and I wrote together, exploring the intersection of science fiction, artificial intelligence, wisdom, ethics, and religion, has appeared in a special issue of the journal Religions. The special issue is titled “So Say We All: Religion and Society in Science Fiction” and our article has the title “Writing a Moral Code: Algorithms for Ethical Reasoning by Humans and Machines.” Here’s the abstract: The moral and ethical challenges of living in community pertain not only… Read more

August 9, 2018

Here’s an example of professional hazard. I saw the above headline come through my feed, and initially thought that it involved some scandal having to do with the ranking of temples, and not the ranking of Temple University… Read more

August 8, 2018

A colleague shared a piece by Owen Strachan on another Patheos blog, one that argues against the positive view of doubt that is articulated by progressive Christians. I commented on Facebook and shared a few thoughts about it, and think that perhaps it is worth saying the same things and slightly more here on the blog. Here are my main points in response to the piece: 1) For a piece that is supposedly defending the “biblical view” of faith, the entire… Read more

August 7, 2018

Scot McKnight posted about infant baptism, which is apparently the subject of his new book, It Takes a Church to Baptize. In a series of upcoming blog posts he will talk about how and why he has shifted away from believer’s baptism to favoring infant baptism. I happen to have been baptized twice, which gives me an interesting perspective on this topic. The first time was as an infant in a Roman Catholic church, and the second was as a… Read more

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