August 22, 2007

There is a very important post about Richard Bauckham’s recent book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimonyon the Vridar blog. There it is drawn to our attention that one particular instance of testimony about the Holocaust (an example Bauckham uses in his book), which is assumed to be reliable, turned out to in fact be fiction. A similar point was made about oral tradition by Ted Weeden at SBL not that long ago, pointing out that whereas… Read more

August 22, 2007

Today is the first day of classes at Butler University. This semester I’m teaching The Bible, Religion and Science, and South Asian Civilizations. Useful links on those subjects are always welcome. What are other faculty and students who are reading this teaching/taking this semester? Read more

August 21, 2007

Here are some suggestions:1) Don’t Panic – print a copy of the cover of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and paste it on your office door, across your computer screen, wherever necessary.2) Go on the Atkins diet – the first few days can be tough, but then you get a nice boost of energy.3) If your office doesn’t have a coffee maker, buy one, and use it frequently – of course, if you go on the Atkins diet, you… Read more

August 20, 2007

The famous warning of Dean Inge that “when the church marries the spirit of the age, she finds herself a widow in the next” is particularly relevant when trying to relate one’s faith to science, which is not only always progressing, but often undergoes paradigm shifts that themselves give birth to whole new worldviews. As I gear up to teach a course on religion and science again, I am mindful that by the time the course is over, some givens… Read more

August 20, 2007

Last night I watched the documentary The Privileged Planet, and also finished reading Paul Davies’ latest book Cosmic Jackpot: Why Our Universe Is Just Right for Life. To the credit of the Discovery Institute, who produced the documentary, they did little more than argue that our place in the universe is special, in a vague sense, and that this indicates that our existence has a purpose. Paul Davies, in his book, makes perfectly clear that he feels simply appealing to… Read more

August 20, 2007

In order to refer to it more conveniently in a discussion I’ve been having on Scot McKnight’s blog, I’m reposting here an entry from my old blog about the humanity of Jesus and what it means to take it seriously. I begin by mentioning the very strong evidence that Jesus was mistaken about the nearness of the end. Although John Meier has argued that the key sayings (Mark 9:1; 13:30) may stem from the early church rather than being authentic… Read more

August 19, 2007

There have been some recent discussions and disagreements between scholars in my field about the usefulness or otherwise of Wikipedia. Two recent articles (here and here) show what anyone would have expected – that those with vested interests actively engage in biased editing of its pages. This is no surprise, and anyone who doesn’t understand this facet of all Wiki sources should not be using them. For educators, this means we need to ensure that our students understand the nature… Read more

August 17, 2007

I thought I’d share another old post (below), in light of Hong Kong’s Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (TELA) issuing the following press release in May of this year:The Bible is a religious text which is part of civilisation. It has been passedon from generation to generation. TELA considers that such longstandingreligious texts or literature have not violated standards of morality, decencyand propriety generally accepted by reasonable members of the community.Therefore, TELA will not submit the Bible to the Obscene… Read more

August 17, 2007

There are two posts (both on the same blog) about the inscription on an ossuary that allegedly is the name of Jesus son of Joseph. The most recent and directly relevant on this inscription, with photos, is here; the other is here. These will be of interest to anyone trying to continue to follow the scholarly discussion of the Talpiot tomb, irrespective of one’s own conclusions. Read more

August 16, 2007

In March of this year (when I first posted this), the student group VERITAS brought Terry Mortenson to campus to speak about evolution. I will not discuss the biological aspects of his presentation, but will leave that to biologists and other specialists. Mortenson was exposed as talking about things (such as the meaning of Hebrew words) that he really knows little about that isn’t parrotted from other sources, and it would be foolish for me to make the same mistake.When… Read more

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