People Wrote It, You Believe Them, That Settles…Nothing

David Hayward's cartoon above gets at an important issue. I suspect that very few of the Bible's authors actually thought in this way. Most genuinely believed that their dreams, their sense of conviction, indicated that God had appointed them. Some are fairly clear that they are human beings like any others, researching, discerning, and writing [Read More…]

Syria and the Church

Today in my Sunday school class, we started off talking about the separation of church and state, and by the end we were talking about Syria. Syria also came up in the sermon, which was on Psalm 3, the first lament in the Psalter. I found my thoughts turning to Syria in one of my [Read More…]

Not All Like That

Thanks to John Shore for drawing my attention to the NALT Christians Project website. NALT stands for “Not All Like That,” and it is a call for Christians who tell LGBT people “we are not all like that” to say that loudly and not just privately. Here is an introductory video by Dan Savage about [Read More…]

Dangerous Superstition

I saw a news article today about the murder of Narendra Dabholkar in Pune, India. Dabholkar was an activist opposing superstition and blind faith. He was killed, not by a spell or a lightning bolt, but by human beings whose love of superstition of whatever sort did not give them supernatural power. They used technology, [Read More…]

Nailed It

David Hayward posted this image on his blog earlier today: David didn’t seem to have problems with the disconnect between the methods, or the message, of Joel Osteen in comparison with Jesus. Yet the “Nailed It” meme is all about people trying to do something and missing the mark so badly that it is funny. [Read More…]

Garden of Eden to become Iraqi National Park

“Garden of Eden to become Iraqi National Park.” That’s the headline in New Scientist. The article is about the preservation of a part of the southern marshlands of Iraq, the region where the Ma’dan Marsh Arabs have historically lived, and a traditional homeland of the Mandaeans. Local lore also claims it was the site of the Garden of [Read More…]

“God”

All Christians and all atheists do not disagree about everything. For instance, I agree very strongly with Hemant Mehta that this church needs to learn how to use quotation marks correctly: There are in fact whole blogs and web sites dedicated to the misuse of quotation marks. It is cases like these, when people seem [Read More…]

Jesus vs. Mandaean Lightworld Figures in the Great Treasure

Here are another couple of excerpts from the Great Treasure or Ginza Rba, which are relevant to my conference paper on depictions of lightworld visitors to Jerusalem in the Mandaean Book of John. They are also related to one another. First here is GR 1.199-200, : If he harasses you, tell him: “We belong to [Read More…]

Using Jesus

David Hayward wrote the following on his blog today: Everyone with any sense knows that we accept the acceptable words of Jesus and appropriate his unacceptable words in altered forms. That is, we use his sayings if they are agreeable, and we reject or theologically undermine the ones that aren’t. I think an interesting question [Read More…]

Did Paul Have a Distinctive Christology? Did He Think of Jesus as a Pre-Existent Human Being?

In a recent blog post, Larry Hurtado noted Morton Smith's observation that Christology never turns up as an issue between Paul and the more conservative Jewish Christian groups that he interacted with directly and indirectly, centered in Jerusalem. And so this seems to confirm that Paul did not take a Jewish Messianic figure and turn [Read More…]