December 16, 2018

In a conversation with colleagues sometime last year, we had a conversation about appropriate word use and its impact on our vocabulary. It came up when someone referred to a “blind spot,” and another colleague said they had actually had a student complain about the term because it was disrespectful of those with visual impairments. I was shocked that this had been suggested, since “blind spot” is the technical term for an aspect of human vision that all human beings… Read more

December 15, 2018

John Polkinghorne writes: When I left the full-time practice of science and turned my collar round to become a clergyman, my life changed in all sorts of ways. One important thing did not change, however, for, in both my careers, I have been concerned with the search for truth. Religion is not just a technique for keeping our spirits up, a pious anaesthetic to dull some of the pain of real life. The central religious question is the question of… Read more

December 14, 2018

I have such a great appreciation for Neil Carter. Although he is no longer a Christian, he is regularly concerned that neither Christianity in general, nor Jesus, be maligned as a whole for things that are the responsibility of a subset of Christians who can be shown to have departed wholesale from Jesus’ teachings. For instance, he recently wrote the following in a blog post about what a church is for: They have internalized a theology that absolves them of… Read more

December 13, 2018

There have been several Christmas-related posts, some of which cover topics that are addressed every year around this time, but many or all of which either have enough new, or remain of such relevance, that they are worth sharing. The one I most want to highlight is Ian Paul’s explanation of why the idea that Jesus was born in a stable is wrong. There have been many such posts, and some circulate year after year, Christmas after Christmas. But this… Read more

December 12, 2018

This week’s episode of the ReligionProf Podcast features Karen Keen, who blogs at Reverent Sexuality. In it, we talk about her recent book, Scripture, Ethics, and the Possibility of Same-Sex Relationships. See also her response to a review by Sean McDowell, and now also part two of it, as well as the video she shared about Christian parents who came to rethink their views in light of their own children coming out. Keen also reviewed the book Modern Kinship, and wrote about… Read more

December 11, 2018

I have been meaning to blog about HumaReC for some time. HumaReC stands for Humanities Research and Continuous Publishing, and represents a Digital Humanities project related specifically to the New Testament, spearheaded by Claire Clivaz, a major figure in this field. But recently, when Ancient World Online drew attention to Sara Schulthess’ Open Access book on the site, about a trilingual manuscript of the New Testament, I knew it was time to rectify things and blog about the site. Schulthess’… Read more

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

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