May 28, 2024

I decided to try my hand at creating a custom GPT. Since I have been working on an article relevant to this topic, I decided to see what kind of sermon-generating GPT I could make. Given my penchant for puns I of course called it ChatGPreachT. (I have made it publicly available so you can try it out.) I asked it to draw on biblical scholarship while emulating the style of the best sermons from ancient times down to the... Read more

May 26, 2024

The Doctor Who episode “73 Yards” takes things further in the direction that Russell T. Davies has indicated he planned to. Spoilers is a theme of the episode and this post has them galore, so if you haven’t watched the episode turn back now. This is one to be experienced and not merely read about. It all starts with the Doctor stepping onto and breaking a fairy circle. There doesn’t seem to be a real world equivalent of the custom... Read more

May 23, 2024

I continue interacting with ChatGPT in an effort to understand it as well as I can and react appropriately to its capacities in how I teach and in particular the assignments that I incorporate into my classes. I thought that a good test question given my interests as well as my ability to evaluate the AI’s output might be “What are some of the most innovative scholarly proposals about John the Baptist?” Here’s how ScholarGPT Scholar responded: Here are some... Read more

May 22, 2024

There are a lot of misconceptions about John the Baptist. You only need to look for images of him on Google to see it. My new book Christmaker: A Life of John the Baptist shatters many of these while in the process managing to flesh out the story of John’s life and tell it as never before. Sure, there have been fictional lives of John and academic books about John, but never a genuine biography of John the Baptist of the... Read more

May 19, 2024

“Boom,” the latest episode of Doctor Who, stands in a long tradition that stretches back to the era of the classic series of Doctor Who. Episodes like “The Sun Makers” and “Paradise Towers” are just a couple of examples. I have mixed feelings about this latest episode of Doctor Who. I like very much when Doctor Who offers social commentary in its satirical way. In many respects I like what this one does. I think my qualms are about the... Read more

May 13, 2024

The second of the new Doctor Who episodes is called “The Devil’s Chord.” The title and the opening sequence make reference to the notion that the church banned tritones because they were demonic. Although Doctor Who started out aiming to teach young people about history, it has regularly repeated pseudohistorical notions, and this most recent episode is an example of that. The fact that someone called the dissonance created by two notes a half step apart or by a diminished... Read more

May 12, 2024

Doctor Who has returned not so much with a two-parter as with two standalone episodes released at once. The first of the two episodes is called “Space Babies” and I suspect that you’ll find the number of times the Doctor utters that phrase in the episode somewhat tedious. Nevertheless, it is a fun and funny episode with many of the sorts of elements that one would expect from Doctor Who. Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor is superb, inhabiting the role... Read more

May 3, 2024

Say what you want about AI, one thing it has shown itself exceptional at is this: recommending new music. How on earth did we ever get along without it? As I’ve been exploring the potential for AI to generate completely new music in seconds, I’ve been thinking about what this means for the hard work of musicians who spent days, weeks, or perhaps months writing songs. What the products of both humans and AI have in common is that it... Read more

April 30, 2024

The Bible is full of monsters, some of which you’ll recognize, and some of which you didn’t realize were monsters before reading Esther Hamori’s book God’s Monsters: Vengeful Spirits, Deadly Angels, Hybrid Creatures, and Divine Hitmen of the Bible (Broadleaf, 2023). I am a biblical scholar and read or listen to a lot of books related to biblical studies, both those aimed at scholars and those aimed at a general audience. As someone whose main field is New Testament but... Read more

April 25, 2024

I’m very hard to impress when it comes to generative AI…and this new music-generating tool has me seriously impressed!   As you know, I have spent a lot of time experimenting with ChatGPT as well as other generative AI chatbots, and AI art generators such as NightCafe and Dall-E (the former is really great and I recommend trying it out if you haven’t already). I have also been trying to keep an eye on developments in music-generating AI, but there... Read more

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