The recent find on October 13th of a dead, 18 foot oarfish off the California coast brought to mind all the books I read as a child about sea monsters. Seeing the pictures of the long, narrow body of the typically deep sea fish (which can actually grow up to over 50 feet), it is easy to understand why sailers of an earlier time would have thought, on the rare occasion one approached the surface, that it was a giant “sea serpent“. Coincidentally, the Smithsonian ran a fascinating article just a few days later promoting the release of two new books (here and here) dealing with maps and sea monsters.
One of the scholarly dangers in our field is letting the excitement of an inscriptional find take us down avenues where we want to go, rather than having a more restrained approach. Part of the problem with this is, as many archaeologists and historians have found in recent years, the news media are prone to sensationalizing finds when they bear upon ‘biblical’ times without our coaxing. The result is the dissemination of misinformation. And news certainly travels quickly these days.
Read More At The ASOR Blog
(image courtesy of the Israeli Antiquities Authority)
“When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. But the Pharisee, noticing that Jesus did not first wash before the meal, was surprised. Then the Lord said to him, ‘Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But give what is inside the dish to those in need, and everything will be clean for you.
A scene rom the movie Gandhi:
Prosecutor: [reading from Gandhi’s material] “‘…Non-cooperation has one aim: the overthrow of the [British] government. Sedition must become our creed. We must give no quarter nor can we expect any.’ Do you deny writing it?”
Gandhi: “Not at all. And I will save the courts time by stating under oath that to this day I believe that non-cooperation with evil is a duty, and that I believe British rule of India is evil.”
Prosecutor: “The prosecution rests, my lord.”
Judge: “I presume you are conducting your own defense, Mr. Gandhi?”
Gandhi: “I have no defense, my lord. I am guilty as charged. And if you truly believe in the system of law which you administer in our country, then you must inflict on me the severest penalty possible.”
[The judge hesitates…seemingly overwhelmed and awed by Gandhi’s words.]
Judge: “It is impossible for me to ignore that you are in a different category from any person I have tried, or are likely to try. Nevertheless, I sentence you to six years in prison [murmuring and shouting among those gathered in the court]…But if our Majesty’s government should, at some later date, see fit to reduce the term, no one will be better pleased than I.”
I came across this old post from 2008, and I enjoyed remembering it so much that I had to repost it. (Please note that my children are older, but the conversations haven’t necessarily changed that much.)
The following is from 2008:
So I walk into the living room and overhear the end of an apparently deep theological discussion among my daughters.
Hailey (9): “. . . God can do anything.”
Abby (5, thinks for a few seconds): “God can swim?”
Hailey: “Anything, Abby.”
Abby: “Even make cards?”
Hailey: “God can do anything.”
On his blog Brice C. Jones has written about his discovery of an unpublished Sahidic Coptic fragment of John and his upcoming published presentation of the find in New Testament Studies next spring (April 2014). According to his post, this fragment is the earliest known all Coptic manuscript containing commentary on the Gospel text delineated by the heading “hermeneia” (“interpretation” or “explanation”). He does not mention the possible dating of the fragment, however. According to Jones, other Coptic manuscripts containing hermeneia segments are bilingual, with a mixture of Coptic and Greek.
Congrats on a great find!
Well known scholar Dr. Lawrence Schiffman has made two brief works on early Judaism available for free on his website. I have not read these particular essays (yet), but I have read some of his published material and have listened to entire semesters worth of Schiffman’s lectures on topics such as Second Temple Judaism, the Hebrew Bible, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. I highly encourage anyone who is interested in early Judaism or the contextual background of the New Testament to take advantage of this opportunity to download these resources. Continue reading →
“These walls are funny. First you hate ’em, then you get used to ’em. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them. That’s institutionalized.”
—Morgan Freeman’s character “Red” in The Shawshank Redemption
Thirteen years ago Amy and I made the decision to resign from paid ministry in the local church. During the previous decade, I had worked at three congregations (one for only a year, another for eight, and the last for a little over a year). One was a small family congregation, the second was a growing suburban congregation, and the last was a large “mega-church”.
The decision to leave professional ministry wasn’t easy. Since giving my life to Christ, I had always felt a “call to ministry”. I loved the relational work of sharing lives, learning together, and working out what it means to follow Jesus with other people. I, like most who feel strongly about such a call, assumed that following it meant paid ministry in a church, as a missionary, or in a para-church organization. However, I now felt for the first time that God was calling me out of professional ministry. I wasn’t sure what it meant, or what I would do, but I was certain that resigning was what I was supposed to do. So, in a huge leap of faith, without another job, and in major change in my previously assumed direction in life, I resigned.
There is a view of life which holds that where the crowd is, the truth is also, that it is a need in truth itself, that it must have the crowd on its side. There is another view of life; which holds that wherever the crowd is, there is untruth…
“The Crowd Is Untruth”
(available here in it’s entirety)
“In the splendid cathedral the Honorable Right Reverend Geheime-General-Ober-Hof-Praedikant [Private Chief Royal Chaplain] comes forward, the chosen favorite of the elite world; he comes forward before a chosen circle of the chosen ones and, deeply moved, preaches on the text he has himself chosen, ‘God has chosen the lowly and the despised in the world’—and there is no one who laughs.”
The Humor of Kierkegaard: An Anthology, 148