August 6, 2019

I have consistently been one of those who said that all questions are worth asking, and should be welcomed, when others have tried to ignore questions that were felt to be too awkward, and silence those who dared to ask them. But I didn’t feel that was actually true in all instances. I thought some questions were simply unanswerable and that that meant that we weren’t meant to ask them. One such question was the classic one about John 8:… Read more

August 5, 2019

Debates about the liberal arts and American higher education continue. Here are some recent significant articles and other online commentary about the topic. Ramon Torecilha wrote: The classic liberal arts education is as relevant as ever. To make the successful transition from student to professional, women and men need to think critically, problem-solve, persuade others, and “read the room.” These “universal skills” are imperative. Resistance cannot be tweeted Tulsa’s liberal arts cuts. Disadvantages and dangers of making cuts to the… Read more

August 4, 2019

Sometimes the Babylon Bee’s satire has me laughing hysterically, as a former conservative Evangelical (and/or as a sci-fi fan). And sometimes it has me shaking my head in dismay at how dismally unfunny and off-target its attempts at humor can be. In one recent example in the latter category, they decided to cast aspersions on historical critical scholarship, without apparently understanding those methods or those who use them, never mind their usefulness and value. The piece envisages an academic author… Read more

August 3, 2019

Prehistoric Monsters, Environmental Disasters, and Shark Weather: Interdisciplinary Interrogations of the SyFy Original Films Edited by Mitch Ploskonka and Justin Wigard (MSU) This collection’s goal is to devote critical attention to an understudied avenue of popular culture: Sci-Fi/SyFy Channel’s original films. Since 2002, Sci-Fi/SyFy Channel’s production company, Sci-Fi Pictures, has created over 200 original films, spawning such franchises as the Sharknado andLavalantua series alongside cult/fan favorites like Ghost Shark, Ice Spiders, and Mongolian Death Worm. Sharknado’s release in 2013 saw unprecedented popularity for one of SyFy’s creature… Read more

August 2, 2019

The Theology, Religion and Popular Culture Network will be starting the TRPC Review, a short online publication which will feature useful information to members, including book reviews, conference reports, research notes, and upcoming call for papers. We are currently requesting submissions of the following: •Book reviews – 750-1000 words •Conference reports – 500-750 •Research notes – a short overview of research or collective literature reviews on a subject; keep to 1000-1500 •Any upcoming call for papers Please send all submissions to… Read more

August 1, 2019

Via the Hugoye list: A four-year PhD position in Syriac Studies, funded by Ghent University’s Special Research Fund (BOF), is available within Ghent University’s Department of History (Belgium), with an application deadline of 10 September 2019. Further details below. The position is funded by the research project ‘History and authority in Syriac excerpt collections and beyond’ (Prof. P. Van Nuffelen, Dr. M. Mazzola, Dr. A. Hilkens). Combining intellectual history with material philology, this project studies the authority attributed to histories… Read more

July 31, 2019

I initially thought I would most likely explore the stories of these two women in separate chapters. But having looked at them closely, I don’t think it is just the author of the Gospel of Mark who forces them to be connected. Unless Mark, our earliest source, is completely off base, they are inherently related to one another. Mark, to be sure, uses his characteristic method of sandwiching one story between the beginning and end of another to prompt us… Read more

July 30, 2019

Another call for papers that I knew you’d agree is worth sharing. I’m unlikely to be able to make it, since it falls during our last week of classes at Butler. But we’ll see… An Astounding 90 Years of Analog Science Fiction and Fact: The Fourth Annual City Tech Science Fiction Symposium Date and Time: December 12, 2019, 9:00AM-6:00PM Location: New York City College of Technology, 285 Jay St., A105, Brooklyn, NY Almost 90 years ago, Analog Science Fiction and… Read more

July 29, 2019

I want to provide two lengthy excerpts from a much longer interview of Jeff Kripal from the AAR’s Reading Religion book review site. Here’s the first, on the scientific method: The success of science depends entirely on what it refuses to look at—the only reason science gets to explain everything is because it gets to say what everything is. If you or I want to put things on the table that science cannot study, those things are dismissed as not real… Read more

July 28, 2019

Another audiobook that I listened to a while back was Mike McHargue’s Finding God in the Waves. It’s another one that I highly recommend. In it he talks about “transcendence withdrawal,” how church health is undermined by hidden doubt and the wearing of masks, the fact that deconstruction of faith is not purely rational, and that “the need for certainty is an addiction we can kick,” while offering a vision of how to be spiritual and rational at the same time,… Read more

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