March 20, 2019

I hope you enjoy this conversation with Melinda Bouma and Bob Gaudet who work for Zondervan/Harper Collins in their division that produces New Revised Standard Version Bibles. In the conversation, we explore some of the wonderful ways that professors and Bible publishers have worked together and can work together. I also asked them what the most bizarre suggestion for a new Bible was that they had received, and unfortunately they only recalled a couple of really good examples after we finished… Read more

March 19, 2019

With the Jewish holiday of Purim almost here, Dr. Henry Abramson wrote a very interesting article about Purim’s intersection with Christian and Roman history. Here’s an excerpt: An unusual bit of the Theodosian Code (16.8.18) is apparently the first non-Jewish source to document the phenomenon of Purim parties that get out of hand. Specifically, the law prohibited Jews from burning Haman in effigy. For Jews, the practice of symbolically destroying the notorious villain of the book of Esther, the paradigm of anti-Semitism,… Read more

March 18, 2019

Having written about science fiction as prophecy here not long ago, I was struck by a recent article in the New York Times by Namwali Serpell. Here is one briefer and one longer excerpt: Maybe because we’re living in a dystopia, it feels as if we’ve become obsessed with prophecy of late. Protest signs at the 2017 Women’s March read “Make Margaret Atwood Fiction Again!” and “Octavia Warned Us.” News headlines about abortion bans and the defunding of Planned Parenthood do… Read more

March 17, 2019

Let me supplement my last post about the historical Jesus with another that connects with and shares a wider range of what has been and continues to be discussed and circulated, and asks what kinds of things it might be useful to blog about in the future. Reading certain blogs and discussion boards on the internet, you would think that laypeople were being called upon to invent methods for historical study for themselves, and to do so from scratch no less. I… Read more

March 16, 2019

Another call for papers about science fiction that deserves to be circulated widely: Contemporary American Science Fiction Film: The Bush, Obama and Trump Years deadline for submissions: May 31, 2019 full name / name of organization: Dr Stuart Joy, Solent University & Dr Terence McSweeney, Solent University contact email: Since the turn of the millennium the United States of America has undergone what many have considered to be a series of political, financial, and institutional crises. At the same… Read more

March 15, 2019

Bart Ehrman wrote something recently that conveys something crucial, and does so clearly and succinctly: It makes sense that people today would think that we should have archaeological evidence of Jesus – after all, he’s the most important figure in the history of Western Civilization!  If he existed, surely we’d have some physical record of it, right?   The problems are that (a) we too quickly assume that someone who is important *after* his life must have been equally important *during*… Read more

March 14, 2019

I was really struck by a number of engaging aspects of a post on the Patheos blog Anxious Bench, responding to Jerry Falwell’s appeal to Jesus’ words “render unto Caesar” in support of Trump: How might we hear Matthew 22:21 differently if we’re looking at the metallic relief of a long-dead president who held limited power for a relatively short period of time, rather than that of a living emperor with the hubris to believe himself a figure of unimpeachable power?… Read more

March 13, 2019

In this week’s episode of the ReligionProf Podcast, I share a long-overdue conversation with Andrew Murtagh and Adam Lee. Both of them are humanists, but Andrew is a Christian humanist while Adam is an atheist humanist. Both are also Patheos bloggers: Adam blogs at Daylight Atheism and Andrew blogs at Soapbox Redemption. Why did I say that we were long overdue to record a podcast? Because we talked about doing so prior to Andrew and Adam’s visit to Indianapolis last… Read more

March 12, 2019

What an odd path my academic life has followed. They say truth is stranger than fiction. I pursued study of the Bible bringing with me naïve assumptions about its historicity. Study challenged those assumptions. I then undertook research and then taught and continued researching the Bible using methods of historical critical analysis. Teaching gave me the opportunity to branch out into areas like the study of science fiction, which led me to write science fiction. That has led me to… Read more

March 11, 2019

News not from Butler University per se, but from Christian Theological Seminary, which is located on Butler University’s south campus, and is an institution with shared roots, space, and much else: Christian Theological Seminary is excited to announce that Dr. David M. Mellott has been named the Seminary’s seventh president. His tenure will officially begin on July 1, 2019. Since 2011, Dr. Mellott has served as Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean, and Professor of Theological Formation at Lancaster Theological Seminary in… Read more

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