Being Agent Scully

One of the "joys" of working in an archives is hearing about everybody's research. Sometimes it's interesting, sometimes it's dead boring (hello, genealogists, I don't care who your great-great-uncle was), and sometimes it makes me want to claw my eyes out. People come looking to us to validate their wonky theories about this or that historical person, and you have to be polite as they spin moonbeams.I'm under orders not to engage on a certain topic. I don't mind. I've already discovered … [Read more...]

Bob Cargill on the Holy Grail

A pair of historians recently claimed that a chalice in a Spanish church is really the Holy Grail. Here's The Guardian:The two historians – León University medieval history lecturer Margarita Torres and art historian José Manuel Ortega del Rio – identified it as the grail in their book, Kings of the Grail, published last week.They said two Egyptian parchments they found in 2011 at Cairo's University of al-Azhar set them on a three-year investigation.Their studies led them to ident … [Read more...]

I Cannot Tell a Lie

There's a lot I like about being a public historian. I get to work directly with the survivals of the past, both artifacts and documents, rather than what people have written about them. I reach a much broader swath of the population than I would at a university. I only teach a few "lessons," but even at a modest sized museum I can reach thousands of "students."But then there a things like this:Fight erupts over George Washington cherry tree 'myth'A battle over whether young … [Read more...]

The Great Commoner

I've been following the saga of Bryan College. Due to outside pressure from the likes of Ken Ham and other creationists, Bryan College issued a clarification of its mandatory Statement of Belief so that it spelled out a literal belief in Adam and Eve. It's become a thing in the media, and you can see reactions from our neighbors Fred Clark and Peter Enns.A number of the articles I've read includes a line like this one from Christianity Today:Bryan College was notably founded in honor … [Read more...]

The Dome Overhead

Hector Avalos, the biblical scholar calling for an end to biblical studies, occasionally posts over at Debunking Christianity. His latest two posts expand on a debate he had with pastor and apologist Rev. Juan Valdes. The debate was over the scientific accuracy of Genesis 1-3, and now both men are answering questions and drawing out arguments.Avalos' major point is that apologists do not understand the texts they're dealing with, nor the way that scholars interpret them:Briefly, the … [Read more...]