‘None can be called deformed but the unkind’

• “John Kerry and Zarif were on the phone during the past hours, and this helped the problem to be resolved quickly due to their direct contact.” A reminder that, as Nancy LeTourneau says, “Diplomacy Works!

And also a reminder that, among other things, we’ll be voting in November to decide whether or not the U.S. should start a war with Iran that would likely keep our military engaged there until, say, 2035 or so.

Manhood

Marco Rubio is hoping to recover his manhood. Biblically.

• Republican Sen. Marco Rubio has selected a co-founder of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood to serve on what he’s calling a “religious liberty advisory board” for his presidential campaign. Frankly, such advisory boards don’t ever do much of anything, existing mainly as a back-door list of implicit endorsements. But still, Wayne Grudem?

This illustrates what Rubio and the white evangelical voters he’s reaching for mean by “religious liberty.” It’s the liberty for the powerful to exert power over everybody else. In Grudem’s case, that means the liberty of men to subjugate women. And, more generally, it’s the liberty of white evangelicals to claim special privileges and establish cultural, legal, and financial hegemony over every other religion in America.

• The Acknowledgements page in Brendan Pietsch’s Dispensational Modernism really is pretty sweet. “I blame all of you …” (No, I haven’t read it, but Pietsch’s thesis — that dispensationalism arose as a fundamentalist attempt to apply “scientific” methods to the study of the Bible — seems spot on. It’s an emulation of “science” performed by people who don’t understand science.)

Also via Fea: Why they don’t have a red carpet at academic conferences.

• “Normally, when we do archaeology, we see the decay of a settlement, we see it going out of use, and we see the slow back-fill over time of the ditches and the pits. We don’t see a snapshot. …”

• Rick Brannan writes about an odd piece of New Testament Apocrypha I hadn’t encountered before: The Second Apocalypse of John. I’m trying to imagine the person who read the Book of Revelation and thought, “This really needs a sequel to tie up all those loose ends.”

Oh, and if you’re in the mood for reading more about ancient apocryphal texts, here’s a fascinating discussion of the “influence of Mesopotamian texts and images on the Watcher myth,” which ties in, too, with our recent digression here about “Stonehenge, Yucca Mountain, and the Bible.”

• Rep. David Brat, theocrat of Virginia, says that President Barack Obama should not be allowed to quote the Bible because, when it comes to Christianity and the Bible and morality: “Our side, the conservative side, needs to reeducate its people that we own the entire tradition.” Thus, Calvinism.

• And speaking of right-wing religious loons … “religious” broadcaster Sandy Rios is still promoting the “Obama will declare martial law and stay president for life” business. In 2016.

This is a rookie mistake. The martial law thing is standard right-wing paranoia, but it’s supposed to be deployed before the other guy’s re-election campaign, and then throughout years five and six of their second term. Year seven at the latest. At this point, Rios should have begun to pivot away from Chicken Little allegations about Obama, shifting her focus to baseless attacks and scary predictions about his potential successors.

• The quote in the title is from Twelfth Night, because I’m still using the shell of a draft post I started last week (Twelfth Night is another name for Epiphany). If you’ve never seen it, Imogen Stubbs is wonderful in Trevor Nunn’s 1996 film version. It’s far better than the weirdly retro trailer might make it seem:

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