On Religious Language and Transcendence

Here’s another Facebook comment, this one expressing something of my view of religious language: I don’t think any human language is adequate. But I think that language which points towards and is drawn from the deepest, most meaningful, and most self-transcending aspects of our own experience is more adequate than language which reflects human experience [Read More…]

Mythicist Language is Designed to Make Lies Sound Truthful

Neil Godfrey's latest rant includes a quote from George Orwell, and describes the fact that I will be addressing mythicism and religious freedom in a conference paper as “Orwellian.” And once again, there is no evidence of awareness of Poe's Law, as a mythicist writes things that seem like a ridiculous parody, something that no [Read More…]

Atheism, Language, and Theology

As a follow-up to my post from earlier today about atheism and the meaning of “god” I thought I would offer here some further thoughts that I also shared in comments on that post. If someone objects to calling something or someone a “god” because that is not an accepted use of that word in [Read More…]

In the Biblical Sense

As someone who teaches Bible, this cartoon Hemant Mehta recently shared made me laugh: It is funny that, through a series of twists and turns in the history of language, a reference to something being “Biblical” can turn it into sexual innuendo. This actually illustrates an important point about how languages work, a point often [Read More…]

Quote of the Day (Dezső Kosztolányi)

Idegen nyelvet lehet nagyon jól tudni, de jól soha. [Translation: “It is possible to know a foreign language very well, but never well.”] — Dezső Kosztolányi in his 1922 essay “Nyelvtudás” (“Language Knowledge/Learning”) [Read more…]

Winning Ugaritic

Jim West announced on his blog today that I was the winner of his giveaway of the brand new volume An Introduction to Ugaritic by John Huenegard. Since he said that I had the most compelling answer regarding why I deserved the book, it seemed it might be worth sharing what I wrote. I realize [Read More…]

Is Your Theology Weighing You Down?

Two humorous images that appeared on other blogs this morning provide helpful fodder for thinking about theology. The first, from David Hayward, reminds us that the only legitimate use for theological language is as a pointer towards a transcendent reality. The more weight you give to the actual words, understood not as sacraments or symbols [Read More…]

Undecipherable Inscription

Via Bob Becking on Facebook   Posted with Blogsy [Read more…]

The Importance of Language Learning Illustrated

This morning I had a useful illustration of why learning as much as you can of a language is important. This morning, I left my bag near my room as instructed and went to the elevator. A couple of bellboys passed and I heard one of them say a number in Hebrew. I was fortunate [Read More…]

The “Original Aramaic Lord’s Prayer” is None of the Above

After it came up on this blog a while back, I’ve wanted to return to the topic of the “Original Aramaic Lord’s Prayer.” Why? Because the thing that can be found online referred to in this way is not original, not Aramaic, not a translation, and not the Lord’s Prayer. Let me elaborate further. This [Read More…]