April 4, 2011

Meet Hassan Saida.  By day a truck driver, by night a cave crawler.   He lives in the northern part of the Galilee, and claims he found these lead objects in a cave (where else) northeast of the Sea of Galilee near the conjunction of  Israel Jordan and Syra, near the town of Saham, Jordan.   Jordanian officials naturally want these object back and are making large claims about their importance in regard to Jesus and the history of his earliest… Read more

April 4, 2011

Introduction The first chapter begins with something of a disclaimer.  “There was a good deal of that sort of activity in the ancient world [i.e. forgery]…although it was not a major factor in early Christianity. This was for a simple reason: Christian books were not, by and large, for sale”  (p. 15) and as Bart points out,  making money was even in antiquity one major reason for forgeries.    On p. 17 Bart goes on to say that there is ‘scant’… Read more

April 4, 2011

There have been three truly great medieval murder mystery writers in my lifetime, all British—  Ellis Peters  (aka Edith Pargeter, with her sleuth Brother Cadfael), C.J. Sansom,  and Paul Doherty.  They all write very well, know how to keep you guessing and have produced interesting full-bodied characters.   While Peters novels are a bit lighter and more cheerful and often involve romance as well as murder,  Doherty and Sansom’s novels plumb the depths of some of the more dark side… Read more

April 3, 2011

If you were to actually begin reading Love Wins with the very last chapter, you would quickly see why I have said the book deserves to be evaluated primarily as a poetic expression of Rob’s faith.   It is not an exercise in detailed exegesis or systematic theology any more than the psalms (songs) should be evaluated as systematic theology.    While I agree that the underlying theological assumptions and assertions in this book are fair game for close analysis and critique, … Read more

April 2, 2011

[Note: This continues the chapter-by-chapter review of Rob Bell’s Love Wins.  To catch up on the series so far, read Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, and Part Six] I like Rob Bell’s pastoral spirit.  And I love the story he tells at the beginning of the Seventh Chapter of this book.  Rob knows how to deal with abused persons and broken persons in compassionate ways, in the spirit of  Christ’s own dealings with such persons. There’s no doubt that Rob is… Read more

April 1, 2011

On my trip to Houston, from which I just returned,  I had occasion to visit Mark Lanier’s  brainchild— a little Christian enclave consisting of a fine research library (modeled, as he told me on various Oxfordian libraries) a beautiful Orthodox style stone chapel, and a Cotswoldian style cottage for scholar’s in residence to stay in.  With my sabbatical coming up next year,  I volunteered to be scholar in residence for a bit.   Mark Lanier is an interesting guy—- said to… Read more

March 31, 2011

[Note: This continues the chapter-by-chapter review of Rob Bell’s Love Wins.  To catch up on the series so far, read Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, and Part Five.] It’s not usually kosher to complain when a book written for lay people and even for non-believers fails to reference a particular part of the scholarly discussion of something.  But when in fact ignorance of the discussion leads to misinterpretation of Biblical texts, on issues as large as — ‘on what basis are… Read more

March 30, 2011

So I was just checking out the remarkable and new Lanier Theological Library with my friends  Marlin and Edward when along came Mark Lanier himself,  the famous legal beagle of Houston, and we started chatting and the next thing I knew I was embarking on something I have never done before—– signing copies of every single book I’ve ever written all at once.  Well, actually there were a couple or three missing, but here is the visual proof it happened. … Read more

March 30, 2011

Bart Ehrman’s new book,  Forged   (Harper, 2011, 307 pages) has hit the bookstalls  and has been hovering in the 300s in the list of top sellers,  eclipsed by another Harper book that came out at about the same juncture—- Rob Bell’s  Love Wins which has been reviewed in detail already, chapter by chapter on this blog.   Ehrman’s new book will receive the same sort of chapter by chapter analysis. This book should not be confused with some of Bart’s previous… Read more

March 30, 2011

Seeing as how this blog is called the Bible and culture, sometimes we focus more on the culture side of things.  And with this recent ministry trip to Katy Texas we ran smack dab into all sorts of Texas culture, in particular its food culture, and if you haven’t sampled Texas food culture, then  you have lived a deprived existence,  I am sorry to say.   In particular, if you have not sampled Bluebell (named after the flower) ice cream or … Read more

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