August 3, 2020

Educators have been told by administrators to prepare to be flexible this upcoming academic year. I know that I’ll have at least the following to confront as challenges: at least one student who will be taking their classes completely online; reduced classroom capacity limits meaning we cannot all gather simultaneously at the times classes meet; wearing a mask on campus including while teaching. In addition, there may be changes after the fall semester is already underway. A surge in cases… Read more

August 2, 2020

The Doctor Who episode “Full Circle” is the first story in the E-Space trilogy, and it introduces Adric who would become an ongoing companion and (spoiler alert) the first longtime companion to be killed on the show, which would happen in the episode Earthshock, which I blogged about previously. All of that is still in the future, of course, but blogging about the episode that introduces him now, after having blogged about the one featuring his departure almost a decade… Read more

August 1, 2020

Exciting news from the Enoch Seminar about the next Nangeroni meeting. It will take place in January 2021 online, and the focus will be on John the Baptist! You can imagine how excited I am, given my own current research focus in this area. Below are provisional details. If you’re an academic who works in this area or in another that intersects with it (e.g. Dead Sea Scrolls, Gnosticism, Islamic studies) and you haven’t been invited to participate, let me… Read more

July 31, 2020

Did you catch the allusion to Ephesians in former U.S. president Barack Obama’s eulogy for John Lewis? He said at one point, “What a radical idea. What a revolutionary notion. This idea that any of us ordinary people…can stand up to the powers and principalities and say, ‘No. This isn’t right. This isn’t true. This isn’t just. We can do better.'” Some might find it strange to use such language when racism is a human phenomenon. But I think Obama’s… Read more

July 30, 2020

I am always not just surprised but dismayed when someone I know who is Baptist posts something advocating the restoration of teacher-led prayer in schools. It is as though they have failed to grasp both the principles of being Baptist and the approach to religious freedom enshrined in the first amendment to the United States Constitution. I recently wrote the following in a comment on one friend’s Facebook post: I strongly oppose teacher-led prayer. As a Baptist, do you want your… Read more

July 29, 2020

Eric Metaxas tweeted the following and it is getting a lot of attention: The main thing that is being said in response is that “Jesus wasn’t white.” The timing was perfect to have shared a blog post yesterday featuring an AI-produced face of Jesus based on art, which shows him as a Middle Eastern man. Taking that approach may not get very far, since plenty of “white people” will happily argue that people in the Middle East are “white.” That… Read more

July 28, 2020

Meredith Warren shared the meme above on Facebook and it inspired this blog post. Apparently it isn’t just Hebrew and Aramaic tattoos that get badly botched (which I’ve seen much more of—I share one of my all-time favorites at the end of this post). People do the same thing in ancient Greek. See the above for one example. It is good to see the Real Housewives plus Smudge the cat with salad meme put to good use in the service… Read more

July 27, 2020

Bas Uterwijk, Dutch artist, did something remarkable. He took a variety of artistic renditions of people who lived before the era of photography, including paintings, status, icons, and whatever else happens to be available. He fed those to an artificial intelligence program to see what emerged out of the combination and commonalities among them. The results are very striking. No one will be surprised that, however interesting the rendering of Vincent van Gogh might be, I was far more captivated… Read more

July 26, 2020

A while back I pulled together some links about academics as public intellectuals, i.e. as people with expertise who make it part of their professional activity to inform the general public about the insights their field offers. There continues to be debate about the value of such work. In some circles there is actual debate about whether this is valuable at all, if you can believe that. But in most cases, there is at least lip service paid to the… Read more

July 25, 2020

I had the privilege of being a guest on the Church of the Geek podcast. We recorded the episode just a few days ago, and it went live yesterday morning. Have a listen. I’ll embed the episode at the bottom of this post for those who cannot conveniently click through to listen on another site I’ve linked to. Meanwhile, here are some links related to Star Trek, the intersection of religion and science fiction in general, and other things that… Read more




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