December 10, 2018

The tenth episode of Jodie Whittaker’s first season as the Doctor is the season finale, and its title – “The Battle of Ranskoor av Kolos” – may not be especially memorable or striking. But this episode is certain to be remembered vividly, and widely discussed, by anyone interested in religious themes on the show. It is also going to be a focus of attention for anyone interested in the Doctor’s ethical values and the ways that the show engages with… Read more

December 9, 2018

This Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity session felt like it had less of a unifying thread running through it for some reason, despite the clear theme, which is ironic, given that the Digital Humanities cosponsored section had papers focused on cuneiform, Mandaic, Syriac, and Ethiopic text projects! Perhaps this was because the ways that Christians referred to and engaged with Muslims, and the ways that Mandaeans engaged with Christians, are typically isolated from one another in completely different fields. By… Read more

December 8, 2018

The joint session with the SBL Digital Humanities program unit was in many ways the highlight of this year’s activities by Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity. The presentations covered a range of projects with outputs as diverse as 3D printed replicas of cuneiform cones and cylinders, to photography, transcription, and collation of manuscripts from Ethiopia. Bradley Erickson’s presentation on digital cuneiform could be summed up under the heading of “Digital Clay.” The project he described began with an encounter with… Read more

December 7, 2018

The Doctor Who episode “The Androids of Tara” is part of the Key to Time sequence. According to the BBC website, it was apparently based on a late 19th century novel, The Prisoner of Zenda. It is just one of many episodes that features something that would be bound to happen in endless time and space, namely encountering people that look precisely like someone else. The Doctor encountered individuals who look just like him in the episodes “The Massacre” and… Read more

December 6, 2018

So many interesting calls for papers have come to my attention – a couple related to science fiction, one related specifically to Digital Humanities, another about liberal education. Rather than just circulate them on social media, I thought including them in a blog post was called for. CFP: Reading Reality through Science Fiction, University Stefan cel Mare of Suceava, Suceava, Romania CFP: Fan Cultures and the Premodern World, University of Oxford, 5-6 July 2019 Read more

December 5, 2018

Of the theological topics that I tackle in my book Theology and Science Fiction, one that students at McCormick Seminary were particularly interested in when I made a guest appearance there in October, was what I wrote about immortality. And yet it was a topic that we didn’t get to talk about as much as I would have liked. And so I was happy that it came up in my conversation with Doug Estes, in the second podcast episode we recorded…. Read more

December 4, 2018

O come O come and write more advent hymns Their number and their quality are dim While focusing on Christmas is fine That needn’t mean that Advent decline Rejoice, rejoice, an advent song Shall come to thee, o church, before long The church’s calendar can seem obscure Episcopals alone seem to be sure The Methodists coordinate their stoles While others like the Baptists are lost souls Rejoice, rejoice, an advent song Shall come to thee, o church, before long Can… Read more

December 3, 2018

James Whitbrook wrote the following about the Doctor Who episode “It Takes You Away”: It was weird. And lovely? And messed up. And weird. It might be the most out-there episode of Doctor Who ever made, one that extrapolates some of the show’s key ideals (especially the one of finding beauty in the surreal and weird vastness of the universe we live in) to their farthest—almost definitely its most absurdist—extrapolation. And that’s saying something for a series with as bonkers a history, in… Read more

December 2, 2018

As my Sunday school class moved into John 11 a while back, the fact that Jesus seems to delay healing Lazarus so as to highlight his own abilities and glory to a greater extent seemed disturbing. We say that “the ends don’t justify the means” but most theists would exempt God from that principle. That raises the interesting question of whether the end never justify the means, or if we just think that our human perspective is so limited, and our foresight… Read more

December 1, 2018

An effort to be consistently literal in one’s interpretation of the Bible leads to absurdities. Even the people who are usually labeled “literalists” agree about this. Few of them think that trees will literally clap their hands, for instance. And so it would be ideal if the notion that some people “take the Bible literally” could simply be abandoned as not reflecting the stance of any actual people. Even people who claim to be “literalists,” as few as they are,… Read more

Follow Us!

Browse Our Archives