January 12, 2022

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke tell stories about Jesus’ birth and infancy with incompatible details. The geographical movements cannot be reconciled. In Matthew they are from Bethlehem and want to return there, and only go to Nazareth when they fear Herod’s son Archelaus. In Luke they are from Nazareth, go to Bethlehem and within a couple of months of Jesus’ birth they are back in Nazareth by way of Jerusalem. The census under Quirinius that Luke connects with the... Read more

January 10, 2022

Given how much of the Gospel of John reflects polemical interaction with followers of John the Baptist, I found myself wondering whether that might not be the case in John 5 as well. The story in John 5 is puzzling because it seems to require the later insertion about an angel troubling the water to make sense. The story in our earliest manuscripts reads: Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there... Read more

January 7, 2022

Here is the YouTube video of my conversation with Tripp Fuller and Donna Bowman, two academics who were the absolutely ideal conversation partners for a discussion of the Matrix movies in general and the most recent one, The Matrix Resurrections, in particular. Have a listen! Let me highlight some of the things that grabbed my attention in the most recent movie, and/or that I found worth revisiting in the original trilogy as a result of seeing this fourth one. “Stories never... Read more

January 3, 2022

I mentioned on Facebook that I have been thinking about other possible ways of structuring my course on the Bible that I teach pretty much every semester at Butler University. Here’s what I wrote: Question for biblical studies educators (as well as students and others who might have a relevant and interesting perspective to offer on this): I’m dissatisfied by the structure of my one-semester course on the Bible and pondering how to change it. This is a course that... Read more

December 31, 2021

2021 turned out to be the year when I couldn’t manage to keep up my rhythm of sharing a blog post every single day. Having committed to not writing very short posts, perhaps it was only a matter of time. Newspaper columnists traditionally offered something weekly in most cases, and so perhaps aiming to share something worth reading every day was overly ambitious. However, I do think that the context of the pandemic was the key factor. Let’s be honest,... Read more

December 29, 2021

I had hoped to be able to share the talk I gave to an audience primarily in Iran about artificial intelligence and theistic ethical reasoning. It will hopefully be made available online at some point. Apparently some 1,500 people watched the livestream. Here is a runthrough I recorded when timing myself. In the actual presentation I had to cut some material here. This also lacks the Farsi translation/summary of what I was saying. I listened to the audiobook of Meghan... Read more

December 28, 2021

I had the opportunity to interview Mike Austin about his book God and Guns in America. The transcript follows below, with my questions in bold.  What led you to write God and Guns in America?  I saw people, including many Christians, who were very confident about their views, but many of the arguments they offered seemed shallow to me, or at least not strong enough to justify that confidence. This is true for people at both ends of the ideological spectrum. That... Read more

December 27, 2021

There is a new website project spearheaded by Prof. Sharon Kim with the title Literature and Religion: Resources for Academic Inquiry. There is still a need for contributors and for section editors, especially in relation to science fiction. I just know I am connected with people who will want to get involved in this in some way. Here is the information about the project from the website: This site exists to provide a comprehensive overview of the field of literature and... Read more

December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas! Here are some of my family’s favorite Romanian Christmas carols, with English translations of the words for those who may benefit from them. Enjoy! Romanian Christmas Carols in translation   Good morning this Christmas Eve! Will you give us something or not? [repeat]   We too have come We wish you a healthy year May the holy Lord grant us Pretzels and walnuts galore!   Behold the Carolers are Coming! The flowers are white On the singers at... Read more

December 24, 2021

The Matrix Resurrections is so meta that most of it may be lost on those who never saw the original trilogy. It is the resurrection of the franchise, of Neo and Trinity, and of the Matrix as a virtual world within the films. The movie comments on itself as well as the earlier Matrix films in a way that is not just “meta” for its own sake but insightful. The analyst who is the architect of the new Matrix seeking... Read more

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