Can Christians Learn from Jews about the New Testament?

Via Facebook I found out about an interesting upcoming lecture by Rabbi David Sandmel, the Director of Interfaith Affairs for the Anti-Defamation League. The title is “Can Christians Learn from Jews about the New Testament?” It will be held at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis on Thursday, March 31st at 7pm. [Read more…]

Demonization is Dangerous

Here is a larger excerpt from the online article that the above quote comes from: The demonization of the Other is dangerous first and foremost for us. It endangers our humanity; it instills us with fear of the unknown. After all, they are different from us, they operate according to different and unfamiliar codes. This [Read More…]

Call for Papers on Aramaic Magical Bowls

The American Academy of Religion’s Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity program unit, and the Society of Biblical Literature Aramaic program unit and Religious World in Late Antiquity Section, are co-sponsoring a session on the Aramaic and Mandaic magical bowls. A session is being planned on the Aramaic magic bowls. Given the interdisciplinary sponsorship, we propose [Read More…]

Satan’s Ethical Code vs. God’s?

It has been funny to see what atheists have had to say about the Seven Tenets posted online by a Satanic Temple. You can read them below. What is interesting to me is the way these newly-minted tenets of a newly-minted religious group are used as a basis for mockery, saying something like “Look, Satan’s ethical code [Read More…]

No Sin To Be Homosexual

“We are each created in the image of God. It is no badge of honor to be heterosexual and it is no sin to be homosexual, just as it is no honor to be White and no sin to be Black. It is simply who we are.” The quote from Rabbi Paul Menitoff comes from his [Read More…]

Jews vs. Aliens

TOR and IO9 both drew attention to the anthologies Jews vs Aliens and Jews vs Zombies. I’m not sure what else to say about them, except that they are at the intersection of religion and science fiction, and so I should read them! Also worth a mention is that a contributor to one of the volumes [Read More…]

Virtual Magic Bowl Archive

AWOL shared a link to the Virtual Magic Bowl Archive, which features photos taken by Matthew Morgenstern, I believe. The practice of making and using magic bowls is something that Jews and Mandaeans in Mesopotamia shared in common. [Read more…]

An Interpolation in 1 Thessalonians?

When we moved from introductory matters to diving into one of the epistles in my Paul class, we started with 1 Thessalonians, usually thought to be the earliest of Paul’s letters. This gave me the opportunity to revisit the question of whether 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 is a post-Pauline interpolation. It is worth noting that there [Read More…]

Jerusalem’s Construction and Destruction (Right Ginza 15.11.328-333)

This is a quick translation of this passage from the Great Treasure (Ginza Rba), the Mandaean sacred text. It relies heavily on Lidzbarski’s German translation, cross-referenced with the online Ginza concordance mostly when either the German was ambiguous, or I was curious what the underlying Mandaic was. In most instances when I looked because the German [Read More…]

Retelling Romans 3:1-20

So what then is the advantage of being a Christian? What value is there in being part of this group? Much – in every respect. First of all, Christians have been entrusted with teachings inspired by God. Then what happens if some of them are not faithful to God? Their faithlessness doesn’t nullify God’s faithfulness, [Read More…]


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