The Biblioblog Reference Library

[«] Posts by the Author "James F. McGrath"(#5)

April 24 2017, 2AM

April 23, 4PM

Last night’s episode of Doctor Who began with a discussion of why the seats in the TARDIS are so far away from the controls, the fact that you don’t steer it you negotiate with it, and the fact that he doesn’t know how much it cost becau... [Doctor Who] [emoji] [Robot]


Chris Tilling shared his own translation of John 20:25: And Thomas said unto them, “Pics or it didn’t happen.” What do you think? Does this preserve the gist of the text while expressing it in a modern idiom? See my earlier post on this ... [Gospel of John] [Chris Tilling] [doubting] [evidence] [funny] [paraphrase] [pics] [thomas]

April 22, 8PM

A clever punny Star Trek sign from the March for Science in Seattle. [science] [Star Trek] [bad puns] [Data] [Lore] [March for Science]


April 21, 2AM

Lecture by Mark Smith, via Biblical Studies Online. See also William Hart Brown’s post on the same topic. [Monotheism] [Birth] [Israelite] [Mark Smith]

April 20, 3AM

I have explained before on numerous occasions the problems which the proclamation of Jesus as a crucified messiah present for mythicism.  Let me try to restate the point again briefly, as I sought to do in a comment on another post: The claim of Christia... [Isaiah] [mythicism] [crucified] [David] [Davidic] [Jonathan] [Kingship] [Messiah] [Targum]

April 19, 2AM

Skeptic magazine recently shared the Baloney-Detection Kit infographic below. I would challenge P. Z. Myers and Jerry Coyne to apply it to the mythicist bunk that they so gullibly embrace and promulgate. See also Paul Braterman’s recent article on t... [information literacy] [mythicism] [baloney] [carl sagan] [detection] [inforgraphic] [Jerry Coyne] [jesus] [kit] [michael shermer] [P Z Myers] [skeptic] [skepticism]

April 18, 3AM

Last night I had the opportunity to attend a dramatic reading of the play “Mr. g,” by Wesley Savick, adapted from a novel by Alan Lightman. The performance was part of ArtsFest, and sponsored by the Religion, Spirituality, and the Arts program... [Genesis] [Alan Lightman] [ArtsFest] [Butler University] [Creation] [play] [universe]

April 17, 3AM

April 16, 5AM

Look closely at the icon… HT Bob Cargill on Facebook. [humor] [bunny] [Easter] [icon] [jesus] [rabbit]


Hemant Mehta and Ian Paul both blogged about the statistic (which the BBC also reported on) indicating the percentage of Christians who do not believe Jesus rose from the dead. The former thinks these individuals are confused, while the latter thinks the... [Progressive Christianity] [Christian] [Easter] [Liberal] [resurrection]

April 15, 5PM

Ten seasons into the revival of a show that is now more than 50 years old, and now they make “The Pilot”?! But in fact, the first episode of the new season does echo the very first episode – as well as many others. Bill Potts is introduc... [Doctor Who] [pilot]


I am long overdue to share the two overlapping trailers that have appeared in recent weeks and days for the upcoming season of Doctor Who, which begins with a new episode later today! You can read more about them on Blastr, IO9 (three times), the BBC Doc... [Doctor Who] [BBC] [companion] [gay] [lesbian] [trailer]

April 14, 4PM

For anyone who may not have found time to watch it yet, here is the new teaser video for the next Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi, due to appear in theaters in December. SyFyWire and IO9 have analysis of the details. The official Star Wars blog also has ... [Star Wars] [Jedi] [teaser] [The Last Jedi] [trailer]


April 13, 3AM

Through this call for papers, I became aware of this journal that explores the intersection of science fiction and the humanities. [Call for Papers] [science fiction] [Call for Papers] [humanities] [journal] [Sci-fi]

April 12, 3AM

This is an old joke, and not a particularly funny one, since it misses the key ideas in the story entirely. But I was still struck by the different impact the meme makes by weaving a map app into the picture, complete with estimated travel time. [Exodus] [desert] [estimated travel time] [MAP] [maps] [meme] [Moses] [navigator] [Passover] [Sinai]

April 11, 3AM

IO9 drew attention to the posted above, created by a Mexican church. What do you make of it? Does this detract from Easter, from The Avengers, or both? Or might it just generate some interesting conversations? [Roman Catholicism] [Avengers] [Christ] [Easter] [jesus] [Mexican] [poster]

April 10, 3AM

I’ve sometimes heard people deride young-earth creationists, mythicists, and various others as “stupid.” But that is grossly unfair. Whether someone is wrong need not and often does not correlate with their intelligence or lack thereof.... [mythicism] [A Beautiful Mind] [brilliance] [John Nash] [Josephus] [madness] [origen] [Richard Carrier]

April 9, 3AM

Nick Alexander created this parody of the well-known Pina Colada song (“Escape”). Today, Palm Sunday, marks the occasion that it was meant for. Enjoy! [music] [escape] [hosanna] [Palm Sunday] [parody] [pina coladas] [Song]

April 8, 3AM

Elizabeth Corsar blogged about the fact that the relationship between the Gospel of John and the Synoptic Gospels is still not resolved after all these years. When I shared the post on Facebook, someone suggested that John and the Synoptics would be a gre... [Gospel of John] [gospel of luke] [gospel of mark] [Gospel of Matthew] [music] [band names] [gospels] [John] [Synoptics]

April 7, 6AM

About a year ago, I floated an idea in a blog post, something that had struck me in teaching my class on the historical Jesus. Anthony Le Donne noticed it and encouraged me to explore the topic further and consider developing it into an article. I did s... [historical Jesus] [Philippians] [Philippians 2:6-11] [Adam] [Garden] [Gethsemane] [Hymn]


‘Why do we believe stuff that’s not true?’ he said, and I said, ‘because it’s easier than admitting we don’t know. Which is a lot closer to reality. That’s what we humans do, we make up things about everything. T... [information literacy] [Brian Andreas] [quote]

April 6, 3AM

April De Conick has shared her opening talk that introduced the recent Gnostic Cinema movie series at Rice University. It is a fascinating talk, exploring both the ancient religious ideas that the term “Gnosticism” refers to, as well as the re... [Gnosticism] [movies] [April De Conick] [Cinema] [Gnostic]

April 5, 3AM

Just in time for Steven Moffatt’s last season running Doctor Who, I learned that he was responsible for the famous Red Nose Day Doctor Who parody sketch starring Rowan Atkinson and a host of other famous actors, “The Curse of Fatal Death.̶... [Doctor Who] [Mr. Bean] [parody] [Rowan Atkinson] [Steven Moffatt]

April 4, 3AM

Eisenbrauns is famous for its April Fools Day items. Unfortunately, they hit some technical hiccups getting this year’s offering out on time. The good news is that what they come up with is funny at any time of year. And so click through and enjoy t... [humor] [Alexandria] [codexes] [Eisenbrauns] [fire sale] [lead] [Lead Codices] [library] [uranium April Fools]

April 3, 3AM

I thought that this recent quote from Randal Rauser deserved to be highlighted in a meme. Click through to read the blog post that it comes from. [atheism] [atheist] [freethinkers] [freethought] [quote] [Randal Rauser] [rationality] [reason]

April 2, 3AM

Ben Witherington shared this cartoon, but did not comment on the fact that (1) it depicts the individual on the left as taking a stand on a different foundation than the Bible itself teaches people to, and (2) it encourages those who do so to treat those ... [Inerrancy] [Ben Witherington] [cartoon]

April 1, 4AM

When I posted in the past about the cube shape of the New Jerusalem in the Book of Revelation, which reminds Star Trek fans of a Borg cube, I didn’t come up with anything nearly as good as this mash-up of Bible and Trek by Jeff Carter: Then one of t... [Revelation] [Star Trek] [Borg] [cube] [Revelation]

March 31, 8PM

Jonathan Robinson has posted a five-part Biblical Studies Carnival. Here are the links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5. Since he has made the theme one of “March Madness,” I will seize this opportunity to mention the “March M... [Biblical Studies Carnival] [biblioblogging] [Biblioblogs] [blogging] [blogs]


This gem of a mash up of Star Wars and Christian theology came to my attention via Facebook: Many of the comments on Reddit are wonderful, responding in ways that continue the mash-up. [Christianity] [humor] [Star Wars] [theology] [bad puns] [church] [Darth Plagueis] [heresy] [heretic] [history] [Pelagius] [Sith]



March 30, 6AM

When sharing a recent post on Facebook, I prefaced it with the words above, and thought it might be worth sharing them as a meme. I had young-earth creationists particularly in mind when I said this, but I think it applies more broadly. Those who most lou... [Bible] [Fundamentalism] [Inerrancy] [young-earth creationism] [scripture] [young-earth creationists]

March 29, 3AM

March 28, 3AM

Click through to read the rest of this comic strip from Existential Comics. [humor] [philosophy] [comic] [evangelism] [existentialism] [funny]

March 27, 3PM

I was delighted to attend the screening of the new movie An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr story at Butler University this evening. The venue was packed! Daniel Meyer from the Center for Faith and Vacation introduced the event. Rev. Charles All... [movies] [theology]


This meme seems to overestimate the antiquity of the Biblical laws. But is it right nonetheless that this is the earliest example of wealth redistribution being legislated, even if the law turns out to be from the time of the monarchy or even post-exilic?... [Deuteronomy] [Economics] [Bible] [poor] [redistribution] [socialism] [tithe] [wealth]

March 26, 3AM

A Facebook friend’s father said the above in a conversation with a young-earth creationist, and fortunately was willing for their words to be shared. When we bring presuppositions to scripture we find what we look for. And those who claim they are ... [young-earth creationism] [Bible] [Interpretation] [young-earth creationists]

March 25, 2AM

A recent PRRI survey has been making the news, and rightly so. As you can see from this chart, white Evangelicals have a persecution complex (or, if you prefer, a martyr complex): As the Episcopal Cafe highlighted, white Evangelical Protestant leaders ar... [Evangelicals] [Christians] [Conservative] [evangelical] [Muslims] [persecution] [Poll] [protestant] [statistics] [survey] [United States] [white]

March 24, 8AM

Jonathan Robinson is hosting the next Biblical Studies Carnival. Please let him know about posts you’ve written, or posts you’ve liked on this blog, that you think ought to be included! [Biblical Studies Carnival] [biblioblogging] [bibliobloggers] [Biblioblogs]


It was striking to listen to Enya’s latest album and to hear this stream of alleluias… [music] [Alleluia] [Enya] [Hallelujah]

March 23, 3AM

March 22, 3AM

Last Sunday in my Sunday school class we started off with the question of whether Jesus was ever a student. We got there by way of a discussion the previous week about whether Jesus had been John’s disciple. This time we turned to Luke, which depict... [Christology] [gospel of luke] [education] [humanity] [learning] [teaching] [temple] [university]

March 21, 3AM

March 20, 3AM

Via Paul Barford. I love that the cartoon alludes to phrasing commonly encountered on PBS shows, which Donald Trump would likewise like to see cut. And I lament the fact that this cartoon, and its allusions, are necessary. Just as I lament the fact that t... [politics] [arts] [border] [cartoon] [Donald Trump] [humanities] [Mexican] [Mexico] [National Endowment for the Arts] [National Endowment for the Humanities] [NEA] [NEH] [political] [satire] [wall]

March 19, 3AM

Across Time and Space: A Choral Concert Sunday, April 23, 6:00 PM Schrott Center for the Arts, Butler Arts Center Tickets: Adult: $15; Senior: $10; Student: $7.50 This annual performance features the ensembles of the Butler School of Music Choral Departme... [gospel of luke] [music] [ArtsFest] [Benjamin Britten] [Butler University] [cantata] [choir] [choral] [Good Samaritan] [parable]

March 18, 3AM

March 17, 9AM

I made a pilgrimage to Medina yesterday – Medina, Ohio, that is, although I actually turned right at the intersection and so went to Akron rather than Medina. Akron is the location of this year’s Eastern Great Lakes Biblical Society meeting. U... [Mandaeans] [Society of Biblical Literature] [elizabeth] [gospel of luke] [infancy] [John the Baptist] [Zechariah]


March 16, 10AM

Nicholas Kristof has depicted a conversation between Jesus and Paul Ryan. Here is an excerpt: Click through to read the rest in the New York Times. [politics] [Donald Trump] [Economics] [Good Samaritan] [jesus] [New York Times] [Paul Ryan] [satire]


Mr. g Monday, April 17, 7:00 PM Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall, Butler Arts Center Free Play by Wesley Sacik, adapted from the novel by Alan Lightman A Dramatic Reading directed by Janet Allen “In the beginning,” the book of Genesis tells us, “God cre... [Genesis] [Alan Lightman] [Butler University] [Creation] [dramatic] [play] [reading]

March 15, 3AM

This is a fascinating mass setting by Dave Brubeck, using traditional Latin mass elements as well as New Testament texts. His work in composing it led to his conversion to Catholicism. [music] [Dave Brubeck] [hope] [jazz] [Mass]

March 14, 3AM

I have been meaning ever since I got back from SBL to blog about some fantastic books that have been published by the Conversational Koine Institute and GlossaHouse. But then I saw these: One of the most impressive items that I saw at SBL this year, ... [Greek] [languages] [ancient] [humor] [Language] [Latin] [learning] [modern]

March 13, 3AM

It has been a while since I’ve shared one of David Hayward’s cartoons, and this one seems especially worthy of circulation and comment. Conservative Christians regularly fail to reflect on the possibility that, just as Jesus and his early foll... [Progressive Christianity] [cartoon] [David Hayward] [jesus] [representatives]

March 12, 3AM Of related interest: [Call for Papers] [Call for Papers] [conference] [Conferences] [heresy] [religion] [science fiction] [women]

March 11, 5PM

A reminder for those in the Americas who observe Daylight Savings Time that clocks need to be switched before you wake up tomorrow… [news] [clocks] [Daylight Savings Time]


I thought that the above quote from Pete Enns was worth sharing. Especially the last bit, since it really does highlight a central issue in a lot of discussions that I have, too. Sometimes people seem completely to recognize that, when they talk about &... [Fundamentalism] [Inerrancy] [attack] [Bible] [Pete Enns] [quote]

March 10, 4PM

Let me start by saying that Jeff Carter has rewritten a famous Fanny Crosby hymn to reflect the view that many conservative Evangelicals in the United States have about healthcare. Here is a snippet: Listen America, people are dying, but the rich and th... [morality] [App] [conversion] [Fanny Crosby] [healthcare] [Hymn] [iPhone] [iPhones]


Another meme exploring what inappropriate counterclaims of “fake news” and other distraction tactics might sound like in the Star Wars universe.   [politics] [Star Wars] [Death Star] [documents] [Donald Trump] [Emperor Palpatine] [fake news] [leak] [leaked] [meme] [rebels]

March 9, 4AM

Lord of the Rings meets philosophy, courtesy of Existential Comics… Click through to see how the story continues… [humor] [Lord of the Rings] [philosophy] [comic] [comics] [elves] [existential] [funny] [J. R. R. Tolkien] [Noam Chomsky] [oppression] [orcs] [Sauron]

March 8, 5PM

Via Jerry Coyne comes the above image, presumably from an Ash Wednesday bulletin. Is it evidence of the truly negative view of human beings that some Christians have? Or is it just evidence of how crucial it is to proofread very carefully, and not ju... [humor] [Ash Wednesday] [butt] [dust] [typo]


Robert M. Price is the only New Testament scholar who has a PhD in a relevant area, and actually works as an academic in the field, who subscribes to mythicism and seeks to make a case for it in appropriate academic venues. Here is what he posted on ... [mythicism] [International Women's Day] [mythicists] [Robert M. Price] [women]


For International Women’s Day, I thought I would share some music that I just happened to find myself listening today, as a result of YouTube recommendations based on past listening. Here is Christine Tithecott performing her piece “Twelve for... [music] [Heather Schmidt] [International Women's Day] [Symphony]


March 7, 10AM

This special edition Donald Trump campaign hat came to my attention via Facebook, and I thought I’d share it… [politics] [conspiracy theory] [Donald Trump] [funny] [Make America Great Again] [slogan] [tinfoil hat]


Charlie Jane Anders will be visiting Butler University on April 6th, and so I’m assigning a couple of her short stories in my class on utopias and dystopias. Here are the two that I thought were particularly relevant to the theme, plus two others w... [science fiction] [Butler University] [Charlie Jane Anders] [dystopias] [First Year Seminar] [FYS] [Short Stories] [utopias]

March 6, 4AM

A new open access journal has been launched: Studies in Late Antiquity. Studies in Late Antiquity Launches First Issue This is different from the book series with that title that I blogged about a while back. I learned about both from the same source, how... [Academia] [journal] [late antiquity] [open access]

March 5, 4AM

It was recently drawn to my attention that the fact-checking and debunking website Snopes links to a blog post of mine, on the subject of the hoax that regularly circulates about chariot wheels allegedly being found in the Red Sea. It struck me not long a... [Exodus] [information literacy] [chariot wheel] [charles darwin] [deathbed] [evolution] [fake news] [informationliteracy] [Red Sea] [Snopes]

March 4, 4AM

Ben Stanhope shared the following image he made depicting how ancient Hebrews understood their physical world: I might quibble about minor details – for instance, I think that when Genesis talks about the waters gathering together into one place cal... [Bible] [ancient] [artistic] [cosmology] [Hebrew] [Israelite] [sheol]

March 3, 7AM

Jacob Prahlow has shared the latest Biblical Studies Carnival. Phil Long has details on upcoming carnivals, including an opportunity for you to volunteer to host one! [Biblical Studies Carnival] [biblioblogging] [Biblioblogs] [blogging]


I am sure that you can Google “filioque” if you don’t get the joke. Try “Pope Francis” and “Bartholomew I” if you don’t recognize the two individuals in the image… [humor] [Orthodox] [Roman Catholicism] [archbishop] [Bartholomew] [filioque] [Lent] [patriarch] [Pope Francis]

March 2, 5PM

If the Star Wars movies had been commenting on very recent events, this is how things might have unfolded. Here’s the interesting question: If the prequels had gone in this direction, how would the original trilogy have to be revised? What would be ... [politics] [Star Wars] [Anakin Skywalker] [Darth Vader] [Donald Trump] [Emperor Palpatine] [fake news] [Padme Amidala] [prequels] [younglings]


On March 27th at 6:30pm, Butler University will host a screening of Martin Doblmeier’s new movie An American Conscience: The Reinhold Neibuhr Story. To RSVP or for more information, visit EventBrite.   [movies] [Butler University] [Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall] [Martin Doblmeier] [movie] [PBS] [Reinhold Niebuhr]

March 1, 9AM

On this Ash Wednesday, I am happy to have the chance to blog about a book that is different, I think, from any other that I’ve reviewed. I was sent a review copy of the adult coloring book Coloring Lent. I confess that, while I have been aware of ... [book review] [adult] [cloud] [coloring book] [death] [God] [Lent]


February 28, 10AM

The faculty of Princeton Theological Seminar have issued a statement about president Donald Trump’s approach to refugees, immigration, and a number of other matters more generally. Here is the opening paragraph: We, the undersigned, believe that bec... [politics] [America First] [Donald Trump] [faculty] [Immigration] [Princeton] [refugees] [seminary] [statement] [theological]


February 27, 4AM

A work by Mikis Theodorakis, drawn to my attention by Siobhan Dowling Long and John Sawyer in their volume, The Bible in Music. [Greek] [music] [Mikis Theodorakis] [passion] [Sadducees]

February 26, 4AM

Fan Studies Network Conference, 24-25th June 2017 deadline for submissions: March 13, 2017 full name / name of organization: Centre for Participatory Culture, University of Huddersfield, UK contact email: The Fan Studies Network 20... [Call for Papers] [conference] [fandom]

February 25, 7PM

I love this PHD Comic. At this moment I am down to 22 “unread” e-mails. Of course, “unread” often meams marked unread to remind you to revisit them later. Do you do that as well? Do you insist on dealing with all e-mails immediatel... [humor] [Technology] [comic] [communication] [e-mail] [e-mails] [inbox] [PhD] [unread]


Malcolm Choat shared this call for papers on his Markers of Authenticity blog: CfP: Panel on Forgeries at SBL Annual Meeting Papers are invited for a panel on forgeries to be held at this year’s Society of Biblical Literature Meeting in Boston in Nov... [Call for Papers] [Gospel of Jesus' Wife] [Society of Biblical Literature] [Call for Papers] [Forgeries] [SBL]

February 24, 12 PM

I’m delighted that Wipf and Stock gave me the opportunity to speak at length about the subject of my recent book, Theology and Science Fiction. The video above is a short excerpt, part of their ANNOTATE series. The fuller interview is below. I hope ... [science fiction] [theology] [author] [Cascade Companion] [Interview] [Sci-fi] [Wipf & Stock] [Wipf and Stock]


After posting about the Magnificat this morning, a friend shared the above image with me on Facebook.   [humor] [bad puns] [cat] [funny] [Magnificat] [mary]


America has a real problem with terrorism, and we should all be very concerned. The situation involves immigrants, locals, and murder. As you may have heard, Adam Purinton – a white American – shot two people in Kansas, killing one of them, ... [news] [Adam W. Purinton] [gun] [indian] [Kansas] [Murder] [Srinivas Kuchibhotla] [terrorism]


These two “canticles” in Luke’s infancy story are not actually said to be “songs.” But they become music over and over again in the Anglican tradition, being so important to the Evening Service that composers have often set t... [gospel of luke] [music] [Magnificat] [Nunc Dimittis]

February 23, 4AM

I was delighted to find this neglected contribution by Richard Strauss to the musical treatments of biblical stories. [Genesis] [music] [Joseph] [Richard Strauss]

February 22, 11AM

NASA just announced that, using the Spitzer Telescope, they have detected a total of seven earth-like planets orbiting the star Trappist-1, and three of them lie in the habitable zone in which liquid water can exist. We can be sure that this system is go... [astronomy] [exoplanets] [habitable] [NASA] [planets] [space] [Spitzer] [telescope] [Trappist-1]


Details in the image above about an upcoming event in Indianapolis, with discussion and some musical foretastes of the upcoming performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah. The work is fascinating for those interested in the intersection of the Bible and mu... [music] [bad puns] [Elijah] [Eric Stark] [Felix Mendelssohn] [Indianapolis Symphonic Choir] [Michael Sells] [prophet]


IO9 highlighted how the new Star Wars novel Aftermath: Empire’s End has offered a religious justification for the way Obi-Wan lied to Luke in A New Hope. There a passage is read in the Church of the Force from the Journal of the Whills which says: ... [Star Wars] [Taoism] [aftermath] [empire] [Jedi] [journal] [novel] [religion] [religious] [Whills]


The above piece by Russian composer Andrei Petrov is but one of many musical works inspired by the account of creation in Genesis. If you are in Indianapolis, don’t miss the performance tonight of Aaron Copland’s “In The Beginning”... [Genesis] [music] [Aaron Copland] [arts] [Butler University] [choir] [chorale] [Christian Theological Seminary] [Creation] [Eric Stark] [religion] [Spirituality]

February 21, 4PM


I love this analogy. Certainly Facebook is the place in our time where one’s so-called friends aggrivate a person’s suffering by commenting on it at length in “conversations” that are in fact more like independent monologues, or in... [Book of Job] [Facebook] [Friends] [Ken Schenck]


The entirety of Schoenberg’s “Moses und Aron” is on YouTube (just the music, not a staged version of the opera): So too is his Jacobsleiter (Jacob’s Ladder): Both are fascinating works in terms of both their relationship to Schoenb... [Exodus] [Genesis] [music] [aaron] [Arnold Schoenberg] [Aron] [atonality] [Jacob] [Jacob's Ladder] [Moses]

February 20, 7AM

Ham’s brand of Christianity is more like Bible fan fiction than the Christian faith most members of mainstream churches would recognize. It is important not to let Ham defined what it means to be a “real” Christian, since his version is a modern con... [young-earth creationism] [dinosaurs] [fan] [fandom] [fiction] [flood] [Gladiators] [Jason Colavito] [Ken Ham] [Nephilim] [quote]

4AM [Call for Papers] [science fiction] [Call for Papers]

February 19, 4AM

Richard Beck’s words in a recent blog post seemed to me meme-worthy. Here is the quote (with a little extra, to show that it is worth clicking through to read the whole thing) – the meme is at the end of the post below… And as the fear o... [Progressive Christianity] [death] [Devil] [Exorcism] [fear] [fearmongering] [quote] [refugees] [Richard Beck] [Sheila Kennedy]

February 18, 12 PM

For those who may not be from the United States, ICE on the back of the flack jacket stands for “Immigration and Customs Enforcement.” That is the branch of Homeland Security that has been making headlines in recent days by rounding up immigra... [politics] [cartoon] [Customs] [enforcement] [ice] [Immigration] [jesus] [Police] [political]


Finding music related to the Bible is easy. Coming across a composition in Syriac, on the other hand, is a real rarity. And so I had to draw your attention to this piece by Zad Moultaka. [music] [syriac] [mary] [passion]

February 17, 10AM

This PHDComic seems to me to sum up the work schedule of academics really well, at least in my experience. On the one hand, there has been an incredible amount of flexibility, inasmuch as the opportunity has in most cases been there to be involved in fam... [Academia] [humor] [academic] [comic] [flexibility] [PhD] [research] [Saturdays] [schedule] [Work]


Last Sunday in my Sunday school class, I confess that I poked fun at the Left Behind series. References to the past and present in conjunction with the future in Revelation have persuaded me that it is referring in the first instance to the situation of t... [eschatology] [politics] [Revelation] [Ann Coulter] [Antichrist] [Donald Trump] [end times] [prediction] [Prophecy] [prophet] [Revelation] [Tim La Haye]


Another obvious song to include in a course on the Bible and music is “Creeping Death” by Metallica. If you listen closely to the lyrics, you will not only spot the Exodus story as the background, but will see the specific influence of the m... [Exodus] [music] [Creeping Death] [heavy metal] [Metallica] [plagues] [Ten Commandments]

February 16, 7AM

I mentioned previously my hope that students would broaden my horizons. That happened during the last class period, as we focused on songs for children. Students shared songs they knew of which I already knew, such as “He’s Got The Whole World... [Genesis] [Behemoth] [children] [Creation] [hippo] [hippopotamus] [Song]


February 11, 4AM

An article in The Washington Post confirms the information in the graphic above. And going back further, CNN notes that three refugees from Cuba killed a total of three people in a terrorist attack, prior to new legislation being introduced in 1980 t... [politics] [Cuba] [Islam] [Muslims] [refugees] [terrorism] [terrorists] [United States]

February 10, 1PM

My review of Max Stern’s book Psalms and Music is now available in RBL to SBL members. I inadvertently violated the SBL open access policy in sharing my last review on and so I will not be doing so this time. I will say that, while I di... [book review] [music] [Psalms] [Max Stern] [RBL] [Review of Biblical literature]


CALL FOR PAPERS The British New Testament Society Annual Conference St Patrick’s College, Maynooth 31st August – 2nd September 2017 Proposals for papers are invited for the British New Testament Conference 2017 to be held in Maynooth, Ireland from Thu... [Call for Papers] [New Testament] [BNTC] [Call for Papers] [conference] [Ireland] [Maynooth]


Via Daniel Kirk on Facebook, who came up with the perfect hashtag to bring Elizabeth Warren and New Testament studies together. [1 Timothy] [#shepersisted] [authority] [Elizabeth Warren] [J. R. Daniel Kirk] [women]


This is not satire, if you can believe it. Bryan Fischer writes: The Scriptures tell us that the eternal city of his coming kingdom will be surrounded by “a great high wall with twelve gates” (Revelation 21:12), each guarded by an angel so undocumente... [Fundamentalism] [Revelation] [american family association] [Bryan Fischer] [Immigration] [Jerusalem]


Kodály Zoltán’s choral work Jézus és a kufárok (“Jesus and the Traders”), based on the New Testament accounts of the temple incident. [music] [choral] [jesus] [temple] [traders] [Zoltan Kodaly]

February 9, 4AM

February 8, 4AM

The composer Szymon Laks was involved in an orchestra in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. [music] [Szymon Laks] [violin]

February 7, 10AM

A statement from the steering committee of the SBL Early Jewish Christian Relations program unit: As scholars devoted to the topic of early Jewish-Christian relations, we are saddened by the executive order barring admission of non-citizens from predomina... [Society of Biblical Literature] [Christian] [Donald Trump] [Immigration] [Jewish] [Muslim] [SBL]


Coming up on February 22nd is an exhibit and performance connected with the seminar on religion, spirituality, and the arts run by Sandy Sasso. It will include a performance of Aaron Copland’s “In The Beginning,” and so I am delighted t... [Genesis] [music] [Aaron Copland] [artists] [arts] [Butler University] [Christian Theological Seminary] [Creation] [Sandy Sasso] [seminar]

February 6, 3PM

Two online sources have suggested that Donald Trump resembled either Nero or Commodus. Any chance that we could persuade him to take a “Which Roman Emperor Are You?” quiz and tweet the results? Surely that would settle the matter. Then we coul... [politics] [Augustus] [Buzzfeed] [Commodus] [Donald Trump] [Emperor] [Nero] [quiz] [tweet]


The Metacriticism of Biblical Scholarship unit in the Society of Biblical Literature expresses its opposition to the Executive Order issued by President Donald J. Trump on January 27, 2017, that immediately suspends entry of citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya,... [politics] [Society of Biblical Literature] [ban] [Donald Trump] [executive] [Immigration] [SBL]


I literally laughed out loud when I reached the end of this SMBC comic. I have been watching Colony, which turned out to have some very interesting religious elements in it. It is a story of alien invasion set in the United States, which raises questions ... [humor] [alien] [aliens] [colonialism] [colony] [comic] [invasion] [New Religious Movements] [overlords] [postcolonial] [SMBC]


I couldn’t resist sharing this meme, falling as it does at the intersection of religion and science fiction. I would also like to seize this opportunity to thank Episcopalians for their efforts on behalf of aliens in the terrestrial sense – r... [Anglican] [science fiction] [aliens] [bad puns] [Catholic] [Episcopal] [Episcopalians] [Giorgio A. Tsoukalos] [meme] [protestant] [theology]

February 5, 4AM

February 4, 4AM

In everyday parlance, a contemporary means someone who lived at the same time as another person. In conversations with mythicists, Paul is dismissed as not a contemporary of Jesus, because he did not (as far as we know) see him while he was alive. But t... [mythicism] [Paul and his letters] [contemporaries] [historians] [jesus] [mythicists] [Paul]

February 3, 8PM

I became aware of another statement from an academic group and wanted to add it here along with the others that I’ve shared recently. It is from the American Academy of Religion’s Sociology of Religion program unit steering committee. [American Academy of Religion] [politics] [religion] [AAR] [academic] [ban] [executive] [Immigrants] [Immigration] [order] [Sociology] [statement]


My review of Bart Ehrman’s recent book, Jesus Before the Gospels, has appeared in Review of Biblical Literature. I have shared the review on for those who may not subscribe to RBL. Here is an excerpt: Early in the book Ehrman justly e... [book review] [historical Jesus] [Bart Ehrman] [jesus] [memory] [Review of Biblical literature]


We see one practical example of the above in the decision of Republican politicians to remove laws that restricted the access of people with mental illnesses to guns. [politics] [constitution] [Guns] [laws] [mental illness] [refugees] [republican] [restrictions] [Safety]


First, a call for papers for a new academic book series exploring the intersection of Christianity and the Digital Humanities: Second, from Princeton University: Application for Postdoctoral Research Associate  (Application link here) The Center for ... [Academia] [Call for Papers] [Christianity] [academic] [Call for Papers] [DeGruyter] [digital humanities] [Princeton] [university]


The above is a setting of the Psalms known as the “songs of ascent” (or similar titles), by Russian Orthodox bishop and composer Hilarion Alfeyev. Below is his setting of St. Matthew’s Passion. And here is his Christmas Oratorio:     ... [Gospel of Matthew] [Orthodox] [Psalms] [composer] [Hilarion Alfeyev] [music] [Russian]

February 2, 2PM

The latest Biblical Studies Carnival is hosted by Cassandra Farrin, and focuses on bibliobloggers’ reactions to the U. S. election as well as their coverage of more typical topics in our field. (Philip Long also provides information about upcoming c... [Biblical Studies Carnival] [biblioblogging] [bibliobloggers] [Biblioblogs]


Just as people say that we don’t realize that we are living in the “good old days” until they have passed, so too we tend not to recognize the significance of a presidency, a protest march, a speech, or a stand, until later. History is b... [history] [inspirational] [past] [present] [tweet]


Today my class on the Bible and music is picking up a thread from last time – Passion – and tracing it down to the present day, including into film scores. Students have been asked to listen to some things in common but also to explore and bri... [gospel of luke] [music] [composer] [Ēriks Ešenvalds] [Latvian] [passion] [resurrection]

February 1, 4AM

In exploring the traditions of chanting or singing the Psalms and other scriptures, I came across the above YouTube channel which features music of the Sephardic Jewish tradition, more specifically from Morocco. Can you detect that the tonality is not tha... [music] [Psalms] [Jewish] [Morocco] [Sephardic]

January 31, 8PM

I expect you have heard the saying above before. Indeed, I suspect that I may have shared it on this blog before. But it is worth sharing again, because it sums up the choice before the United States at the moment. And it is the same choice the wealthy al... [Economics] [inspirational] [politics] [ban] [Donald Trump] [executive] [Immigrants] [order] [president] [table] [wall]


None other than J. K. Rowling drew attention to this tweet from Mike Pence from back in 2015: Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional. — Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) December 8, 2015 She then added a Bibli... [politics] [Immigrants] [J. K. Rowling] [Mike Pence] [Muslim] [tweets] [Twitter]


Two more major academic organizations have issued statements. I had begun working on one as co-chair of the American Academy of Religion’s Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity program unit, since our geographical area of focus overlaps with that d... [American Academy of Religion] [AAR] [Donald Trump] [executive order] [Immigration] [IQSA] [president] [Qur'an] [statement]


From the Society of Biblical Literature’s “Hebrew Bible, History, and Archaeology” program unit: Statement on the recent U.S. Executive Order: “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” We, the steeri... [Bible] [politics] [Society of Biblical Literature] [Archaeology] [ASOR] [Hebrew Bible] [Immigration] [statement]


Butler University’s president Jim Danko offered the following statement yesterday: PRESIDENT DANKO’S STATEMENT ON IMMIGRATION ON JANUARY 30, 2017 President Danko issued the following statement today (January 30, 2017): Dear Members of the Butler C... [politics] [Butler University] [Donald Trump] [Immigration] [Jim Danko]

January 30, 8PM

Another statement from a program unit of the Society of Biblical Literature: It seems that studying poverty, whether in ancient times or today, makes people more sympathetic to the plight of the poor. [Society of Biblical Literature] [ban] [Donald Trump] [executive] [Immigrants] [Immigration] [Poverty] [SBL]


There is a petition that all academics are invited to become signatories of: I have submitted my name asking that it be added, and I hope that you will do the same if you are a professor. The steering committee of the Ame... [American Academy of Religion] [politics] [AAAS] [AAR] [academic] [academics] [ban] [Donald Trump] [Immigrants] [Immigration] [list] [New Religious Movements] [president] [Princeton] [Professors] [Purdue] [scientists] [signatures] [university]

January 29, 8PM

If it has been disheartening to see the actions of America’s president and his supporters, and the harmful effects on people that those actions have had on refugees and other extremely vulnerable constituencies, it has been encouraging to see so man... [American Academy of Religion] [politics] [Society of Biblical Literature] [academic] [academics] [ban] [Donald Trump] [Immigrants] [Immigration] [Muslims] [president] [refugees] [SBL]


A biblical opera by 19th century Columbian composer José María Ponce de León. [Esther] [José María Ponce de León] [opera]

January 28, 12 PM

From cartoonist Pat Byrnes. Is any further comment necessary? Is it necessary to point out that the substitution of lies in place of truth is itself already diabolical, and the rebranding of lies as though they were merely a variant form of truth is even ... [afterlife] [politics] [alternative] [cartoon] [comic] [Donald Trump] [facts] [heaven] [hell] [truth]


Here are videos from YouTube with recordings of Susan Bingham’s settings of Biblical stories: [music] [Ruth] [opera] [Susan Bingham]

January 27, 7AM

A friend shared this image on Facebook: It seems to me that in quite a bit of fiction, dystopian and of other kinds, it is the people that you least expect who rise to the occasion, while those you might expect to be well poised to resist equivocate. It i... [politics] [science fiction] [1984] [Donald Trump] [dystopia] [dystopian] [George Orwell]


January 26, 4AM

For the first time since I’ve been teaching, I brought a guitar with me to class and sang to/with my students. Teaching a course on the Bible and music does strange things to one’s pedagogy. I decided to record the class, mainly so that I coul... [music] [protestantism] [Psalms] [Bible] [Butler University] [Fred Anderson] [guitar] [metrical] [protestant] [psalmody] [Psalter] [Reformation]

January 25, 4AM

The only true Christian architecture of the first century was one of living stones and not of brick or mortar. This community-centered ideal accompanied the development of Christianity from its rural Jewish origins into the urban Gentile mission. Edward F... [music] [New Testament] [architecture] [church] [Edward Foley] [quote]

January 24, 4AM

January 23, 4AM

A multi-author effort by some of the 20th century’s great composers: Arnold Schoenberg, Nathaniel Shilkret, Aleksander Tansman, Darius Milhaud, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Ernst Toch, and Igor Stravinsky. [Genesis] [music] [Aleksander Tansman] [Arnold Schoenberg] [composers] [Darius Milhaud] [Ernst Toch] [Igor Stravinsky] [Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco] [Nathaniel Shilkret] [suite]

January 22, 4PM

IO9 drew attention to the fact that today marks the 40th anniversary of the first airing of the Doctor Who episode “The Face of Evil,” which I blogged about back in 2012. The above quote seems particularly relevant to the present day, whe... [Doctor Who] [alternative] [facts]


The Oxyrhynchus Hymn is the oldest piece of Christian music that has accompanying notation. Above is a setting of the words to new music by Johann Kim. Below is an attempt to reconstruct what it might have sounded like in a instrumental rendition on reco... [music] [Hymn] [Oxyrhynchus]

January 21, 6AM

I was struck to learn the precursors to the famous words that Jedi Master Yoda speaks in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Although I have yet to find the precise original source, the sentiment finds expression in this quote attributed to Ibn Rush... [memes] [Star Wars] [Averroes] [Ibn Rushd] [Jedi] [quotation] [quotations] [quote] [Quotes] [supreme court]


The above YouTube playlist brings together videos of talks and interviews with a number of the contributors to the volume Touching the Face of the Cosmos: On the Intersection of Space Travel and Religion.  The book also got a mention in a recent CS Monit... [astronomy] [anthology] [Interviews] [Michael Waltemathe] [Paul Levinson] [podcasts] [science fiction] [spaceflight] [videos] [vodcasts]

January 20, 8AM

This call for submissions includes elements such as Biblical interpretation among the topics that might be covered, and so for those who share my interest in Biblical studies, religion, and science fiction – but who perhaps have focused more broadly... [Call for Papers] [science fiction] [Terminator] [Avatar] [Call for Papers] [companion] [critical] [James Cameron]


The quote comes from my post “Remembering the Needs of the Many at Christmas.” [Atonement] [Christmas] [Crucifixion] [death] [jesus] [quote]

January 19, 4AM

Jonathan Bernier sums things up nicely: There is an unfortunate tendency in many circles to suppose that critical scholarship consists of pronouncing negative judgments on early Christians’ own self-understanding of their origins. I would suggest that t... [information literacy] [Jonathan Bernier] [quote] [scholarship] [skepticism]

January 18, 4AM

One nice part of searching for all the Bible-related music I can find is coming across rare or neglected gems. I think you’ll get a kick out of this, which comes from Temple Beth Israel in Eugene, Oregon’s 2016 Purimspiel. [Esther] [music] [opera]

January 17, 4AM

Via Phil Plait, I became aware of this astronomically-inspired piece of music by Eric Whitacre. Enjoy! [astronomy] [music] [Eric Whitacre] [Hubble]

January 16, 8AM


January 15, 4AM

Here is a call for papers that will be of interest to those interested in the intersection of religion and sci-fi: PKD Day 2017: Philip K. Dick and Vast Narrative The second PKD Day to be held at Birmingham City University, Saturday 22nd of April 2017 Unl... [Call for Papers] [Gnosticism] [science fiction] [Call for Papers] [definition] [Philip K. Dick]

January 14, 7AM

I had to take a photo of this announcement on our local TV station today. The “psychic” church apparently could not foresee either that they should not schedule events today when icy roads were predicted, nor that the conditions would end up b... [humor] [church] [closed] [icy] [Indianapolis] [psychic] [spiritualist] [Weather]


I came across the meme above on Facebook. On the one hand, it does usefully highlight the willingness of many atheists to posit the seemingly miraculous, ironically precisely in an attempt to do away with the need to discuss any ideas of God or transcende... [atheism] [Christianity] [Big Bang] [cosmos] [meme] [Miracle] [Virgin Birth]

January 13, 4AM

Another location that I visited while in Rome last summer was the Vatican, and given my interests, I had to get to the Vatican Museum. Here are some photos from that visit – I invite you to stroll through the museum and share my experience! But befo... [art] [Italy] [Museum] [Rome] [Vatican]

January 12, 4AM

In a recent Facebook exchange, I formulated some points that seem to me to have a wider applicability, and so I am sharing them here, more or less in the same form as I first wrote them… Your underlying aim is to escape from the uncertainty inherent... [Bible] [Genesis] [Inerrancy] [fruit] [knowledge] [tree]

January 11, 7AM

Dear students, here’s a super-simple tip on how to avoid plagiarism. Imagine someone reading your sentence and asking, “How do you know that?” If the answer is something like “I read/heard/saw it somewhere” or “somebody told me,” you should ... [education] [information literacy] [Chris Heard] [citation] [common knowledge] [Plagiarism] [quotation] [quote] [students]

January 10, 9PM

I was delighted to have an opportunity to see an advance screening of Martin Scorsese’s new movie Silence tonight, a couple of days before it opens here in Indianapolis. I went with a friend who has read Shūsaku Endō’s novel, and he said th... [movies] [Christians] [Japan] [Martin Scorsese] [movie] [novel] [persecution] [priests] [Shūsaku Endō] [Silence] [torture]


I have mentioned before that I will be teaching a new course this semester on the Bible and music. And I also shared a setting I made of texts from Amos, to music that I wrote. The score to the piece is now available on IMSLP. Well, another option for s... [music] [Psalms] [Irish] [Mna Na hEireann] [psalm 8] [Seán Ó Riada]


Questioning involves courage, refusal to allow one’s beliefs to be challenged involves fear. And so which should be called “faith” and which should be called “doubt”? The quote resulted from resharing the older post “Do... [Progressive Christianity] [courage] [doubt] [faith] [questioning]

January 9, 4AM

The quote comes from James A. Haught’s book 2000 Years of Disbelief. For more about Ustinov’s views on religion, see his interviews in the “This I Believe” series and with Mike Wallace. There is certainly a sense in which beliefs &... [memes] [doubt] [Peter Ustinov] [quote]

January 8, 4AM

I don’t want to be a ham, but I am sure this author got some ribbing about her name, when writing about Israeli food. Something doesn’t seem quite kosher about this… To be fair, this is not as ironic as finding a restaurant called “... [israel] [bacon] [Cooking] [Israeli] [kosher]

January 7, 4AM

The return of Sherlock on New Year’s Day included a request for Sherlock to become a godparent, which leads him to comment on God. In the episode Sherlock says, “God is a ludicrous fiction, dreamt up by inadequates who abnegate all responsibi... [theology] [Baghdad] [Big Bang] [death] [God] [godparent] [merchant] [Samarra] [Sheldon Cooper] [Sherlock] [Theory] [vow]

January 6, 3PM

I am grateful to have had Christina Petterson’s review of Richard Carrier’s book, On The Historicity of Jesus, drawn to my attention. It appeared in the journal Relegere. Here are two excerpts, to help persuade you to click through and read ... [book review] [mythicism] [Christina Petterson] [jesus] [Richard Carrier]


Internet, I need your help. According to a commenter who randomly showed up on my blog, I am not a credible source of information, because I do not have a Wikipedia page: I may be wrong, but my impression is that it is inappropriate for someone to create ... [Academia] [academic] [credibility] [Wikipedia]

January 5, 7AM

Job 36:26 is such a striking statement in just about every translation. Some simply say that we do not know God. Others opt to render it in terms of our not understanding God. A recent post on Jeff Hood’s blog connected the verse to Paul Tillich... [Book of Job] [beyond] [God] [Job] [Paul Tillich] [transcendence] [unknowability] [unknown]

January 4, 9PM

I was delighted to attend an advance screening tonight of the movie Hidden Figures, and I am enthusiastically recommending it. It combines so much into one movie: it is based on real historical events; it has romance; it is a feel-good, family-friendly mo... [movies] [African-American] [black] [Cold War] [colored] [discrimination] [Dorothy Vaughan] [Hidden Figures] [John Glenn] [Katherine Johnson] [Mary Jackson] [Russians] [segregation] [Soviet Union] [space] [women]


HT Jerry CoyneThe post How to Distract an Egyptian God appeared first on Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath. [humor] [boxes] [cats] [Egyptian] [gods]

January 3, 7AM

This New Yorker cartoon really sums up well what the current attitude many have towards experts and expertise sounds like. And it highlights the hypocrisy of it, as though figuring out what is happening with the climate, or the history of biolog... [education] [humor] [cartoon] [expertise] [experts] [New Yorker] [pilots]


The Center for the Study of Christian Origins shared the above video interview with Meredith Warren, about her book My Flesh Is Meat Indeed: A Nonsacramental Reading of John 6:51-58.The post This Book is Meaty Indeed appeared first on Religion Prof: The B... [Gospel of John] [body] [Divinity] [Eucharist] [flesh] [Interview] [Meredith Warren] [video]

January 2, 4PM

Jennifer Guo hosts the latest Biblical Studies Carnival. Phil Long has information about upcoming carnivals, and your opportunity to volunteer to host one.The post Biblical Studies Carnival #130 appeared first on Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrat... [Biblical Studies Carnival] [biblioblogging] [Biblioblogs] [jennifer guo]


“Those old Greek gods are not just poetry and legend. In them the Ancients personified living realities—intelligence, beauty, love, or lust, which are still at work in our hearts, and which fashion our person. The language they speak is that of im... [religion] [Bible] [myth] [personification] [symbol] [symbolism]

January 1, 7AM

I was going to screenshot a Facebook discussion that illustrated the similarity between the two groups, anti-science creationists and anti-history mythicists. But in the end, I decided to just share this comment I made there, which I hope boils down the i... [mythicism] [young-earth creationism] [mythicists] [young-earth creationists]


Above is another fantastic discovery of the late Romantic era, when so much of my favorite music stems from. It is Mieczysław Karłowicz’s Symphony in E-minor, Op.7, also known as the “Rebirth Symphony” If you enjoyed the above, here&... [music] [late romantic] [Mieczysław Karłowicz] [Symphony] [YouTube]

December 31 2016, 10PM

I wish to all my blog readers a very happy start to 2017!The post Happy New Year! appeared first on Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath. [inspirational] [2017] [Happy New Year] [New Year] [New Year's Day] [New Year's Eve]


Counting down the top ten posts in 2016 (some of which were actually written in years past, but they continue to get traffic): #10 The Novelty of the Personal Relationship with Jesus #9 Silent Night (Quaker Arrangement) #8 The Original Aramaic Lord&#... [biblioblogging] [Patheos] [baffle] [blog] [blogging] [blogs] [Posts] [slinky] [squirrel] [Top 10]

December 30, 4AM

The Quest for Consonance THE QUEST FOR CONSONANCE: THEOLOGY AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES MCKENNA HALL CONFERENCE CENTER UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME APRIL 2-5, 2017   What is the relationship between faith and reason, theology and philosophy, religion and sc... [Roman Catholicism] [science] [conference] [Notre Dame]

December 29, 4AM

A setting of Psalm 16 by my colleague Frank Felice. You can find the score for the piece on his Selected Works page.The post Preserve Me, O God appeared first on Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath. [music] [Psalms] [Frank Felice] [Psalm]

December 28, 7AM

2016. People keep saying it can’t get worse and 2016 keeps saying, “hold my drink.” – Rose LaVista — James F. McGrath (@ReligionProf) December 28, 2016The post 2016 appeared first on Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath. [humor] [2016] [Carrie Fisher] [death] [Deaths] [tweet] [year]


The post The Year in Creation Science appeared first on Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath. [young-earth creationism] [Ark Park] [Ken Ham] [Noah's Ark] [science] [young-earth creationists]

December 27, 10AM

There is a long history of uncritical support for Israel among American conservative Evangelicals. Somehow the fact that the prophets criticized ancient Israel for wrongdoing, and that the Bible depicts obedience to God as essential to possessin... [gospel of luke] [Gospel of Matthew] [israel] [politics] [Benjamin Netanyahu] [council] [jesus] [occupied] [security] [settlements] [territories] [turn the other cheek] [United Nations] [West Bank]

8AM post Prophetic Word Conference: Poetry, Theology, and Philosophy in Dialogue appeared first on Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath. [Call for Papers] [philosophy] [theology] [conference] [poetry] [poets] [Prophecy] [prophetic]


The above cartoon from Abstruse Goose is called “Special Relativity Simply Explained.” But somewhat amusingly, if you download the image, it is called “How to ruin a scientist’s career overnight.” See also P. Z. Myers’s... [information literacy] [physics] [clickbait] [comic] [headline] [headlines] [quantum] [quote] [reporter] [sensational] [simple] [special relativity]

December 26, 1PM

CNN reported that a Catholic Church in Sri Lanka printed the wrong lyrics to “Hail Mary” in the bulletin for their Christmas service. The lyrics to the Tupac song “Hail Mary” were not what the church intended for people to sin... [music] [Roman Catholicism] [bulletin] [Catholic] [Christmas] [church] [hail mary] [lyrics] [Rap] [Sri Lanka] [Tupac]


From David DeSilva on YouTube.The post From Herod to Hadrian appeared first on Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath. [history] [Hadrian] [Herod]


The above charts come from the website The World in Data, and more specifically Max Roser’s piece, “A history of global living conditions in 5 charts.” It really does put our moment in history in perspective, in a manner that has the pot... [inspirational] [charts] [Data] [global] [graphs] [history] [living conditions] [statistics]

December 25, 7PM

The 2016 Doctor Who Christmas special opens with the Doctor being mistaken for Santa by a boy named Grant. When he introduces himself as the Doctor and Grant asks which one, and he says the original, Grant says that he ought to be called Doctor Mysterio, ... [Doctor Who] [Christmas] [episode] [special] [superhero]


Inherit the Mirth has produced so many fantastic comics. But this one, which I don’t recall ever seeing before, is just so perfect, on so many levels…The post Christmas Convention appeared first on Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath. [gospel of luke] [humor] [cartoon] [Christmas] [comic] [convention] [funny] [Inherit the Mirth] [inn] [Prophets]


One of a selection of Christmas comics that came my way via Bored Panda. …Merry Christmas! Or if you prefer something more generic/inclusive:The post Hi! appeared first on Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath. [humor] [cartoon] [Christmas] [comic] [political correctness]

December 24, 7AM

Another woman composer that I omitted from my post on the subject was Ruth Watson Henderson. Her Cantate Domino is above, and below is Psalm 100.The post Ruth Watson Henderson appeared first on Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath. [music] [Psalms] [Ruth Watson Henderson]


It can be so hard to find balance when it comes to anything having to do with the Bible. This seems particularly true when it comes to matters related to Christmas. On the one hand, there are those who are determined that the Bible be “right” ... [gospel of luke] [census] [Christmas] [contradiction] [date] [Ian Paul] [Nativity] [Quirinius]

December 23, 7AM

The post Just Chemicals in the Brain appeared first on Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath. [humor] [philosophy] [science] [brain] [chemicals] [comics] [existential] [love] [tweet]


It was less than two hours after watching the movie Arrival yesterday that I realized it had solved, for me, one form of the problem of evil. I can’t discuss this without spoilers, but even if you have yet to see the movie, it may be worth reading ... [science fiction] [Theodicy] [arrival] [Dr. Louise Banks] [Pierre Chiang]

December 22, 7AM

The intersection of religion and science fiction would be enough to justify sharing the above. But it also raises useful questions about what is meant by “sacrifice” and also “resurrection.” Sacrifice in the sense of animals kille... [Star Trek] [Atonement] [Christmas] [ornament] [Penal Substitution] [sacrifice]


One piece that I omitted from my post on settings of biblical texts to music by female composers is that featured in the video above: “How Lovely is Your Dwelling Place” (Psalm 84) by Victoria Bond. You can read Bond’s notes about the co... [music] [Psalms] [project] [Psalm] [Victoria Bond]

December 21, 11AM

“Rebellions are built on hope.” But so too are empires. Yesterday I finally saw Rogue One, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Its religious and political themes were especially interesting to me. I won’t try to keep this spoiler-free. The open... [politics] [Star Wars] [Darth Vader] [empire] [ethics] [morality] [rebels] [Rogue One]


The post Silent Night (Quaker Arrangement) appeared first on Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath. [music] [funny] [humor] [Quakers] [Silent Night]

December 20, 4AM

As I was preparing to speak about Handel’s Messiah recently, I came across a great description of what the Hallelujah Chorus is, stylistically speaking, in Calvin Stapert’s book about the piece (p.135). It is a coronation anthem for Jesus. I t... [music] [Psalms] [Revelation] [anthem] [anthems] [coronation] [Handel] [Messiah]

December 19, 10AM

Next year, there will be a new Blade Runner movie. Excited? Via Polygon.The post Blade Runner 2049 appeared first on Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath. [movies] [science fiction] [2049] [Blade Runner] [movie] [trailer]


Some students, it seems, do not really understand what the syllabus is and what it is for. This podcast has interesting suggestions on how to approach them better so as to communicate something genuinely important and meaningful, and to do so in an effect... [education] [syllabus]


I really like this reworking of Jack Chick’s famous tract, “This Is Your Life,” in honor of Chick’s death, by Gretchen Koch. Of related interest, Randal Rauser shared that someone made a movie version of the Chick Tract “Some... [Fundamentalism] [comic] [hell] [Jack Chick] [tract]

December 18, 8AM

The video above is about the fascinating musical project by David Bowen, which has a piano played according to the way clouds move across the sky. You can read more about it in this article, or on the composer’s website. The video above is mostly in... [Uncategorized] [clouds] [Piano]


Talking about Handel’s Messiah in the chamber chat on December 12th with Maestro Matthew Kramer, the question of the “authentic version” of Messiah came up. It was interesting to note how similar the issues are that connect music and Bib... [Bible] [music] [chamber] [chat] [conductor] [Handel] [Indianapolis] [Messiah] [orchestra]

December 17, 7AM

Via Religion in American History: THE CENTER OF THEOLOGICAL INQUIRY CALL FOR APPLICATIONS, 2017-2018 ACADEMIC YEAR INQUIRY ON RELIGION & MIGRATION During the academic year 2017/18, the Center will hold an “Inquiry on Religion & Migration.” The... [Call for Papers] [religion] [Applications] [apply] [Center for Theological Inquiry] [CTI] [funding] [Immigration] [Migration]


As a student at university, you should know the base meaning of words and treat that as a given. If you don’t know the meaning of a word, you should definitely look it up. But you should not treat looking a word up as though that were university-lev... [education] [defines] [definition] [dictionary] [Oxford] [poor] [student] [trite] [weak] [Webster] [Writing]

December 16, 7PM

I haven’t seen Rogue One yet, and so am trying to avoid spoilers. And thus I thought I should share this bit of advice for others who, like me, are trying to avoid spoilers until they see the movie: Do not go see the movie called Star Wars Episode... [Star Wars] [Rogue One] [spoilers]

12 PM

It has been so nice having Scotty’s Dawghouse on campus. I’m a big fan of their chicken sandwich with bacon and cheese, and so I usually order that when I eat there, with their waffle fries and hot sauces on the side. But sometimes they have a... [humor] [Brewhouse] [burger] [Butler University] [Christmas] [elk] [hamburger] [reindeer] [Rudolph] [Scotty's] [Scotty's Dawghouse] [tomato]

8AM post Religion and Power Conference #CFP appeared first on Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath. [Call for Papers] [Call for Papers] [conference] [graduate] [power] [religion] [students]


The second commandment is being observed, I see…or rather, I don’t see.The post God’s Author Page appeared first on Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath. [humor] [Amazon] [author] [funny] [God] [image] [page] [picture]

December 15, 8AM

Via Religion Bulletin: Enabling Constraints: A Symposium on the Demands of Frameworks and Data in the Study of Religion April 27-28, 2017 With Keynote Addresses from: Dr. Winnifred Sullivan, Indiana University Bloomington Dr. John W. Marshall, University ... [Call for Papers] [academic] [Call for Papers] [conference] [graduate] [religion] [Toronto] [university]


From Andy Marlette in today’s Indianapolis Star. In all seriousness, the recent appointments by president-elect Trump have me looking on the bright side of what most people I know are simpky viewing as a national if not a global catastrophe. It has ... [humor] [politics] [Star Wars] [appointments] [cabinet] [Cruella DeVille] [Darth Vader] [Donald Trump] [Elmer Fudd] [EPA] [secretary]


Thanks to Meredith Warren for introducing students in Sheffield, England to Canon: The Card Game! Here are some photos from the class, which I understand enjoyed the experience immensely – as well as having interesting conversations relevant to the... [games] [apocrypha] [canon] [card game] [deuterocanonical] [Marcion] [New Testament] [old testament]

December 14, 6PM

An article in The Guardian showed the extent to which Europeans – and Americans – overestimate the percentage of the population of their country who are Muslims. The article also highlights other differences between perception and reality, f... [Islam] [Article] [estimate] [Muslim] [percentage] [Population] [statistics]


The title that the above was given when I first encountered it was “A nativity scene without Jews, Arabs, Africans or refugees.” The question of where the magi came from is left out – Persia (modern day Iran), perhaps, which may or may n... [gospel of luke] [Gospel of Matthew] [Christmas] [creche] [foreigners] [Immigrants] [Immigration] [inn] [Jews] [Magi] [Middle East] [migrants] [Nativity] [Persians] [poor] [refugees] [shepherds] [stable] [xenophobia]


The Impact of Digital Humanities on the Study of Non-Canonical Texts One or two Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity (AAR) sessions in 2017 will be co-sponsored with the SBL Digital Humanities and Pseudepigrapha program units. All papers for these session... [American Academy of Religion] [Call for Papers] [Society of Biblical Literature] [AAR] [Annual Meeting] [Call for Papers] [digital humanities] [late antiquity] [pseudepigrapha] [SBL]


Here’s the second part of my conversation with Anthony Buzzard. It starts abruptly, but hopefully that won’t detract from most of the substance of the conversation. It was nice to have an opportunity to focus in this second webinar on points ... [Christology] [Monotheism] [Anthony Buzzard] [Bible] [Biblical] [oneness] [theology] [Unitarianism]

December 13, 8AM

Dawn Trautman shared this image on Facebook. Does it match your perception of these sources? If not, do you assume that the issue is with the chart, or with your perception? Discussing individual news sources and their biases is just one aspect of inform... [information literacy] [bias] [framework] [news] [posters] [sources] [standards] [trustworthy]


Even imagining what I am asking about here makes the request seem ridiculous. Every day, I imagine, someone somewhere sets a biblical text to music. And so surely no one would be so foolish as to try to publish a book which must inevitably be out of date ... [Bible] [music] [Biblical] [musical] [setting] [settings] [text]

December 12, 4AM

I recently had the chance to hear a performance of David Lovrien’s piece “Minor Alterations 2: Carols from the Darkside.” I enjoyed it immensely, and wanted to share it with you.The post Carols from the Dark Side appeared first on Religi... [music] [Christmas] [David Lovrien] [minor]

December 11, 4AM

I had a conversation with Rev. Paul Albrecht recently, and he shared with me his view on the man who runs away naked in the Gospel of Mark. It is an interesting way of connecting the dots between elements in the story, and not an implausible one. Let me k... [gospel of mark] [Arrest] [burial] [Garden] [Gethsemane] [jesus] [John] [Joseph of Arimathea] [linen] [Mark] [sheet] [Upper Room]

December 10, 4AM

The entire draft of the English translation of the Mandaean Book of John is still not available online. But I thought I would nevertheless provide a table of contents linking to the chapters that are there, for those who may be interested in perusing them... [Mandaeans] [Mandaic] [Book of John] [Mandaeism]

December 9, 11AM

Courtesy of IO9, here’s the trailer for the Doctor Who Christmas Special, which we fans have been eagerly looking forward to…The post Doctor Who Christmas Special Trailer appeared first on Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath. [Doctor Who] [Christmas] [ghost] [special] [superhero]


As a recent New York Times article highlighted, female composers have historically been neglected. I have no intention of allowing that to be the case in my course on the Bible and music. And so this post is not only intended to share some examples o... [Bible] [music] [composers] [Gender] [women]

December 8, 2PM

I just heard the news that astronaut John Glenn has passed away. I will always consider it a great honor that something I wrote appeared alongside an interview with Glenn in a volume exploring the intersection of religion and spaceflight, Touching the Fac... [astronomy] [astronaut] [earth] [exoplanets] [John Glenn] [planets] [religion] [spaceflight] [Spirituality]

12 PM

The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra has two performance of Handel’s Messiah this coming Sunday and Monday. The first is a performance of the entire oratorio; the second is a sing-along. You can find more information about the performances on the IC... [music] [Bible] [chamber] [Handel] [Indianapolis] [Messiah] [orchestra] [performance] [sing-along] [text] [theology]


Charles Häberl has started blogging again recently, about the Mandaean Book of John and related texts, in a series of truly fascinating blog posts. I’d like to highlight a few of them here. The one that got me most excited is the one which mak... [Mandaeans] [Mandaic] [afterlife] [Charles Häberl] [etymology] [Hebrew] [Language]

December 7, 4AM

Even now, I have not managed to share all the interesting photos from my visit to Italy this summer. One place that I serendipitously happened across and entered was the Giovanni Barracco Museum of Ancient Sculpture. Once you see what is inside, it is har... [Archaeology] [Italy] [free] [Museum] [Rome] [Sculpture]

December 6, 10AM

If you or someone you know is qualified and available to teach this course, please contact jason.vonehrenkrook@umb.eduThe post Adjunct Professor Needed at University of Massachusetts Boston appeared first on Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath. [Academia] [adjunct] [Boston] [course] [Job] [Opening] [teaching] [university]


The post #CFP Undergraduate Religious Studies Symposium at Indiana University Bloomington appeared first on Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath. [Call for Papers] [Call for Papers] [CFP] [conference] [Indiana University] [students] [Symposium] [undergraduate]


Helen Marple-Horvat has arranged the Throne Room Suite from Star Wars for string quartet. I hope you enjoy it!The post The Throne Room Suite for String Quartet appeared first on Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath. [music] [Star Wars] [arrangement] [John Williams] [quartet] [string] [suite] [throne]

December 5, 9AM

There is a review of Theology and Science Fiction on the blog Pop Mythology. In it, Matt Hlinak argues the case that I ought to have spent more time interacting in detail with specific stories, especially as an alternative to including three very shor... [book review] [science fiction] [theology] [Cascade Companions]


As I prepare to teach my course on the Bible and music next semester, I’ve been thinking more about the music behind and in the Bible, as well as music that takes up the already-existing Bible and works with it. As I think about the depictions of s... [1 Samuel] [gospel of luke] [music] [Revelation] [gospel] [Hannah] [Magnificat] [mary] [Nunc Dimittis] [Revelation] [singing] [Song] [Songs] [Zechariah]

December 4, 4AM

I sometimes wonder if I am unusual in not always remembering things that I have done and experienced at times in the past, about which others appear to have a clear recollection. I suspect that this is just the way that memory works, and that the other in... [Paul and his letters] [Acts] [epistles] [historicity] [history] [letters] [memory] [Paul]

December 3, 10AM

Here is the video recording of the conversation I had with Anthony Buzzard yesterday about Christology, monotheism, and related subjects. I talk about how I came to a personal faith and ended up studying the things that I did, and explaining my views on t... [1 Corinthians] [Christology] [Gospel of John] [Monotheism] [Christ] [Divine] [Divinity] [jesus] [Jewish] [Messiah] [Messianic] [monotheist] [monotheistic] [Paul] [shema] [Trinity] [Unitarian]


I thought I would try to clarify the point I was making when the webinar last Friday got interrupted. I don’t at all dispute the interpretation of Psalm 110 as involving Yahweh saying to another distinct figure, whom the author of the Psalm refers t... [Christology] [Psalms] [Divinity] [God] [LORD] [Messiah] [Psalm 110:1] [vowels]

December 2, 7PM

Unfortunately, my conversation with Anthony Buzzard got interrupted by an internet outage in my building. So we’re planning to resume the conversation next Friday, a little later than we started this evening (or a little earlier than we got interrup... [Christology] [Monotheism] [adonai] [Anthony Buzzard] [jesus] [LORD]


I thought I would post a reminder about the conversation tonight. It will be recorded, and so you can just watch and listen later. But if you’d like to listen as it is happening, and perhaps even join in, then here is the link to follow, for your co... [Christology] [Monotheism] [Anthony Buzzard]


It is distressing to see people blogging and “news” outlets reporting once again about the lead codices from Jordan as though they might conceivably be authentic ancient artifacts. It has been shown that they take text and images from known ... [Gospel of Jesus' Wife] [Ariel Sabar] [Codex] [codices] [David Elkington] [fake] [Fakes] [Forgeries] [forgery] [Jordan] [lead]

December 1, 7AM

In preparation for, and to help promote your interest in, the conversation that I’ll be having with Anthony Buzzard tomorrow (which you can join in and ask questions in too if you like), here are his previous discussions with J. R. Daniel Kirk and L... [Christology] [Monotheism] [Anthony Buzzard] [jesus] [Trinitarianism] [Trinity] [Unitarian] [Unitarianism]


Tomorrow evening, I’ll be having a conversation with Sir Anthony Buzzard about my work on Christology and monotheism in early Christianity. If you’re interested in this topic, mark your calendars and listen in!The post Conversation with Sir An... [Christology] [Monotheism] [Anthony Buzzard] [podcast] [Trinitarian] [Trinity] [Unitarian]

November 30, 4AM

Psalm 109:8 got significant attention in recent years as Sen. David Perdue used it as a prayer against President Barack Obama. And so I wondered about musical settings of the Psalm. Some of them skip precisely those kinds of details, as for instance th... [music] [Psalms] [Barack Obama] [cursing] [imprecatory] [president] [Psalm] [Psalm 109]

November 29, 4AM

Via Meredith Warren on Facebook. “Call for applications: Workshop on “Religious Experience at the Intersection of Body and Cognition” taking place at the University of Sheffield on April 28-29, 2017. Deadline to apply is 15 January.” [Call for Papers] [Call for Papers]

November 28, 4AM

My friend Chuck Robertson, who is the canon to the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church USA, is a huge comic book fan. He contributed a great chapter on the subject to the book I edited, Religion and Science Fiction. You can hear him talking about t... [science fiction] [Chuck Robertson] [comic books] [superheroes]

November 27, 4AM

November 26, 4AM

Hemant Mehta drew attention to an article in the Star Tribune about meteorologist Paul Douglas, who is an Evangelical Christian and wants to persuade his fellow Christians to accept the evidence for climate change. The quote in the meme comes via the art... [Evangelicals] [science] [climate] [global warming] [meme] [meteorologist] [meteorology] [Paul Douglas] [quote]

November 25, 4AM

November 24, 4AM

Via The Ancient Bookshelf, I learned about this “Modern Nativity.” It is apparently a real product – although ironically, one that you cannot buy on I think that there is something more valuable than mere humor that can emerg... [gospel of luke] [humor] [creche] [hipsters] [Nativity]

November 23, 4AM

Charles Häberl has written a blog post (and a follow-up, and then another which brings an eclipse into the picture) about the historical references in a section of the Ginza Rba which ought to be considered a Mandaean Chronicle. There is also a lect... [history] [Mandaeans] [Antichrist] [Charles Häberl] [famine] [Ginza] [Plague]

November 22, 5AM

Frauke Uhlenbruch organized and edited an issue of the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures which explores intersections between science fiction and the Hebrew Bible. I was delighted and honored to have been asked to write a final response article for the vo... [Bible] [Hebrew] [science fiction] [Frauke Uhlenbruch] [journal] [scriptures]

November 21, 4PM

I found that there is one disadvantage to blogging on one’s phone: it can look like you are texting rather than taking notes or blogging, and so I wasn’t comfortable doing so while seated at the front in the Digital Humanities session where I ... [American Academy of Religion] [aramaic] [Mandaic] [Society of Biblical Literature] [Bowls] [late antiquity] [magic] [magical]


I attended a Council for Foreign Relations lunch that was simply fascinating. In a recent survey, Americans were divided almost evenly in their answer to the question of whether America has gotten better or worse since the 1950s. That mirrors the differen... [American Academy of Religion] [politics] [Society of Biblical Literature] [AAR] [CFR] [Immigration] [SBL]


I was only able to catch the end of Brent Nongbri’s paper about the dating of papyri. It was David Ratzan, Sarah Goler, and James Yardley about the development of new non-destructive means of dating carbon-based inks, in order to assess the Gospel o... [Gospel of Jesus' Wife] [Society of Biblical Literature] [ink] [Papyrus]


I am so grateful to Jorunn Buckley for organizing a meeting between scholars who work on the Mandaean religion, and two representatives of the Mandaean community here in San Antonio. We had fascinating conversations about the challenges their scattered sm... [American Academy of Religion] [Mandaeans] [Society of Biblical Literature] [AAR] [Jorunn Buckley] [San Antonio] [SBL]

November 20, 2PM

Before heading to the 1pm Digital Humanities session on scholarly communication, I saw a tweet saying that if publishers want to reach the public and have them well informed, we cannot continue to make academic books so ridiculously expensive. In the sess... [Academia] [Society of Biblical Literature] [John Kutsko] [keywords] [MySBL] [SBL] [SBLCentral]


I am presenting at the same time as the above session, but if you weren’t going to come to hear my paper about the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife anyway, then that is where you should be. [American Academy of Religion] [Society of Biblical Literature] [AAR] [Annual Meeting] [feminism] [pedagogy] [SBL]

November 19, 1PM

Here are my thoughts on the first volume in the Digital Biblical Studies series from E. J. Brill, Ancient Worlds in Digital Culture, which I am offering in a review panel that is occurring right now in San Antonio. My own contribution focuses on chapter... [book review] [Society of Biblical Literature] [Biblical Studies] [digital humanities] [SBL]


The first paper I went to hear at SBL this year was Chris Heard’s survey and analysis of board games related to the Bible.  His examination of the biblical exegesis in the games was fascinating. The game Kingdom of Solomon, for instance, requir... [Bible] [games] [Society of Biblical Literature] [Biblical] [board games] [Chris Heard]


I thought I should post a reminder about the bloggers’ dinner tonight at Yard House (849 E. Commerce St.). It starts at 7pm, but if you show up later, some of us who have other plans later in the evening might be able to cycle out to make room for n... [American Academy of Religion] [biblioblogging] [Society of Biblical Literature] [AAR] [bibliobloggers] [bloggers] [blogging] [Dinner] [SBL]

November 18, 7AM

Chris Cantwell blogged about this interesting session tomorrow, which the powers that be at AAR and SBL thought it would make sense to schedule simultaneously with the SBL Digital Humanities program unit. [American Academy of Religion] [AAR] [digital]


I travel to San Antonio today for the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting(s). I will be blogging about the conference from there. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with many friends and colleagues, includ... [American Academy of Religion] [Society of Biblical Literature] [AAR] [Annual Meeting] [conference] [San Antonio] [SBL]

November 17, 4AM

In my course on religion and science fiction, I actually asked students recently who was worse, Donald Trump or Darth Vader. I had forgotten (if I ever knew) that a poll back in 2014 had millennials preferring Vader to Trump. The reason for asking this qu... [politics] [Star Wars] [Anakin Skywalker] [Darth Trump] [Darth Vader] [Donald Trump] [redemption]

November 16, 4AM

Everyone gets frustrated sometimes when they are in a hurry and they encounter a red light. But some people get frustrated every time they encounter a red light. (You know who you are.) I realized recently (yes, while stopped at a red light) that thi... [morality] [Green] [lights] [privilege] [red] [Traffic] [white]

November 15, 12 PM

One of the projects that students in my First Year Seminar course “Faith, Doubt, and Reason” do is to create additional scenes that could be added to Goethe’s Faust (Part One). From time to time, students have needed one more actor th... [education] [Butler University] [doubt] [faith] [Faust] [First Year Seminar] [Goethe] [reason]


People on my campus are in a funk. The mood is somber, melancholic. Today, a colleague made reference to PTSD – “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” – and I realized right away that the acronym could be adapted to fit the current situa... [politics] [racism] [bad puns] [blacks] [Donald Trump] [election] [minorities] [post-traumatic stress disorder] [privilege] [PTSD] [victory] [whites]


About a month ago, the blog Evangelical Textual Criticism drew attention to the first volume in a new series, Digital Biblical Studies. For those interested in the volume, which really is an incredibly fascinating survey of the Digital Humanities in rela... [Society of Biblical Literature] [#aarsbl16] [digital humanities] [SBL]

November 14, 2PM

It seems that one can increasingly do crucial tasks with smaller and smaller mobile devices. It used to be challenging to blog from an iPad. Now one can do so easily from one’s phone. This post is a test of that, as I try to decide what devices I ne... [biblioblogging] [Patheos] [Uncategorized] [blogging] [mobile] [phone]


Romans 13 has been getting a lot of mention lately. Romans 13:1 was the one biblical text that the Communist authorities in Romania consistently knew. “Submit to the authorities” – the Bible says so! We all know that the Bible can be us... [mythicism] [politics] [Romans] [Communism] [Communist] [Donald Trump] [mythicists] [Romanian] [Romans 13]

November 13, 6PM

My review of Matthew Bates’ book The Birth of the Trinity has appeared in RBL. You can find it on if you cannot access it on the RBL site. It is a vibrant time to be part of the discussion of Christology in early Christianity!   [book review] [Christology] [patristic] [Review of Biblical literature] [Trinity]


The Ancient Jew Review has a feature on Jorunn Buckley, who is quite literally the only scholar whose primary area of focus throughout her career has been the Mandaeans. Others of us also work in that area, but as one among numerous others. For Buckley, ... [Mandaeans] [Jorunn Buckley] [Mandaeism] [scholar]

November 12, 4AM

The quote comes from a blog post by Taylor M. Weaver, written as a reflection on the recent debate between Bart Ehrman and Robert Price. Click through to read the whole thing. On the one hand, I can’t agree that Taylor’s quote reflects all ... [mythicism] [historical Jesus]

November 11, 4AM

A fair amount of discussion has been taking place online about the authenticity of some new manuscripts that have come to light recently. These include one that has been dated to the 7th century BCE and which mentions Jerusalem, as well as a collection... [Gospel of Jesus' Wife] [Society of Biblical Literature] [conference] [digital humanities] [fake] [forgery] [Mark Goodacre] [news] [SBL]

November 10, 7AM

My friend Tony Paganelli wrote the following on Facebook, and I thought that it needs to be read widely, so with his permission, I am sharing it here. I think of myself as a student of politics, but I was very wrong about yesterday. I read all the data. I... [politics] [election] [Hillary Clinton] [record] [turnout] [voters] [voting]


To help with processing the election results, we connected them to a discussion (in my class on religion and science fiction) of dystopias. First, I should probably highlight the fact that people around Indianapolis today were depressed and disheartened, ... [information literacy] [politics] [science fiction] [1984] [Donald Trump] [dystopia] [George Orwell] [president]

November 9, 7AM

I had hoped to be writing a very different blog post this morning. But the election results are in, and Donald Trump has been elected the next president of the United States. The New York Times is still showing Hillary Clinton as having won the popular vo... [memes] [politics] [conspiracy] [Donald Trump] [election] [fired] [hired] [meme] [president] [presidential] [rigged] [xenophobia]


I had the privilege of speaking last week to participants in the workshop on Religion, Spirituality, and the Arts organized by Rabbi Sandy Sasso. This year, Becky Archibald is one of the participants, and it was an honor to have a chance to meet her. Whil... [music] [Becky Archibald] [choir] [choral] [darkness] [jazz] [light]

November 8, 4AM

In my Sunday school class this past weekend, we talked about the election, how hard it is to know whom and what to believe, and the fact that political candidates pretty much never seem to be there to actually accomplish the things they promise or that we... [politics] [broken] [democracy] [popular]

November 7, 8AM


I constantly tell my students that the skills they learn in my classes are transferable, and so even if they are not especially interested in the subject matter, the things they learn to do are applicable to other areas of life. As we near the end of this... [information literacy] [mythicism] [politics] [accusations] [bias] [Candidates] [consensus] [conspiracy] [CRAP test] [denialism] [Donald Trump] [election] [experts] [fact-checking] [Fox Mulder] [Hillary Clinton] [mythicists] [scholars] [Snopes] [truth]

November 6, 4AM

It was IO9 which drew my attention to the fact that an artist had created a digital replica of a stained-glass Dalek for use on the cover of the Doctor Who audiobook, Order of the Daleks. The artist talks more about the project on his website. You may n... [Doctor Who] [Dalek] [stained glass]

November 5, 3AM

I love the way YouTube provides the serendipitous discovery of music that is new to me, much the way browsing the shelf at a library has done with books, music, and other things. Such was the case with the above piece by Marcel Chyrzyński. You can find... [music] [cello] [composer] [Piano] [Polish]

November 4, 1PM

The blogger dinner this year at AAR/SBL will be at 7pm on November 19th at Yard House on the River Walk (849 E. Commerce St.). The food and drink menus look great, and they were able to give us a reservation for 20 people and let us all order off the men... [American Academy of Religion] [biblioblogging] [Society of Biblical Literature] [#aarsbl16] [AAR] [bibliobloggers] [bloggers] [blogging] [Dinner] [SBL]


November 3, 6PM

I suppose I could have spiced up the title of this post even more and talked about 50 shades of grey candidate. Looking for a candidate whose reputation suggests that they are something more than human is looking for something other than the real human be... [fantasy] [games] [Lord of the Rings] [memes] [Paul and his letters] [politics] [apostle] [Candidates] [Gandalf] [gray] [grey] [Herod] [morality] [Paul] [politicians] [Sauron] [Simon Magus]


Via Gerhard van den Heever: New Testament Society of South Africa: Early Christian Studies Subgroup Inaugural Session: 9—12 April 2017, University of Stellenbosch. Call for Papers Mapping Transformations Towards a Christian Late Antiquity   Paper p... [Call for Papers] [New Testament] [Call for Papers] [Christianity] [late antiquity] [South Africa]


Harvard Divinity School recorded this discussion of Charles Stang’s book The Divine Double. I have not yet read the book, but the topic is a very interesting one and so I will be doing so in the near future. [Gnosticism] [Gospel of Thomas] [Charles Stang] [Doppelganger]

November 2, 6AM

I am grateful to John Morehead for having interviewed me about my latest book, Theology and Science Fiction. Click through to his blog TheoFantastique to read the interview! [science fiction] [theology] [Interview]


The above video was drawn to my attention by a friend. It is nice to know that there are people for whom the “Josephus problem” is not something related to the Testamonium Flavianum or the mention of James the brother of Jesus, but something w... [Judaism] [Josephus] [math] [problem] [Suicide]

November 1, 2PM

Bob MacDonald has posted the latest Biblical Studies Carnival, filled with poetry and music more than is usual for the carnival. Phil Long has information about upcoming carnivals. [Biblical Studies Carnival] [biblioblogging] [Bob MacDonald]


To give credit where credit is due, I had this realization while listening to the prog rock concept album Ones and Zeros Vol.1 by 3RDegree. I had been thinking a lot lately, as you know, about intersections between the Bible and music. But it struck me re... [education] [music] [philosophy] [religion] [science fiction] [3RDegree] [concept album] [Courses] [progressive rock]

October 31, 3AM

I was delighted to discover a number of settings of Psalms, as well as other music, by Hungarian composer Tamás Beischer-Matyó. You can hear more of his works, as well as find the sheet music for them and others, on IMSLP.   [music] [Psalms] [Hungarian]

October 30, 3AM

October 29, 3AM

I was surprised to read a post by Richard Miller on the blog Debunking Christianity, which highlights the work of Rudolf Bultmann, only to really misunderstand/misrepresent what Bultmann was saying. Miller writes: The question I pose here at Debunking Chr... [New Testament] [demythologization] [Richard C. Miller] [Rudolf Bultmann]

October 28, 3AM

Dear graduate students,On April 7th, 2017, Columbia University’s Department of Religion will be hosting a conference: “Imaginal Worlds: Religion in Speculative and Fan Fiction” Keynote speaker: N.K. Jemisin (2016 Hugo Award Winner) The graduate ... [Call for Papers] [science fiction] [Call for Papers] [conference] [graduate] [imaginal] [imaginary] [imagination] [New York] [NYU] [students]

October 27, 3AM

I felt both proud and ashamed as I listened to Butler students share their feelings about the upcoming election yesterday evening. In a fantastic panel discussion, religion majors (joined by a political science professor for this panel, moderated by a re... [politics] [Butler University] [Candidates] [Donald Trump] [election] [Hillary Clinton] [lesser of two evils] [religion] [students] [voting]

October 26, 3AM

March 30th-April 1st, the University of Syracuse will host a conference on “The Place of Religion in Film,” as part of the Ray Smith Symposium Series. Here’s the full call for papers: The Place of Religion in Film March 30 – April 1, 2... [Call for Papers] [movies] [religion] [academic] [Call for Papers] [CFP] [conference] [movie] [Syracuse] [university]

October 25, 6AM

This PHDComic is funny, but there is a sense in which it is not as far fetched as it might first seem. In platforms like TurnItIn, there are drag-and-drop comments to address common issues in student work. An online platform for reviewers to evaluate manu... [Academia] [academic] [Emoticons] [Facebook] [manuscript] [publishing] [Review] [reviewers]


The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture issued this call for papers: Star Wars With an extensive and still growing body of work, including two cinematographic trilogies, a third trilogy in process, several animated  television series, and numerous bo... [Call for Papers] [Star Wars] [journal] [popular culture] [religion]

October 24, 10AM

Only a few days left, if you’re interested in submitting a proposal for this… CfP: International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts 38, “Fantastic Epics” Please join us for ICFA 38, March 22-26, 2017, when our theme will be “Fantas... [Call for Papers] [science fiction] [arts] [Call for Papers] [conference] [fantastic]


For those of you who had been waiting for this moment, the app for your phone, tablet, or other mobile device is finally here. It includes details such as the time and location of the Durham University reception (which is at the same time as the Blogger D... [American Academy of Religion] [Society of Biblical Literature] [AAR] [App] [conference] [SBL]


I still need to finish blogging about the last few episodes of classic Doctor Who. And then I’m on to Star Trek: The Original Series. But I want to at least mention (even though I don’t plan to blog about every episode) the current series Time... [science fiction] [free will] [history] [Spanish] [time travel] [timeless]

October 23, 11AM

As I’m gearing up to teach a course about the Bible and music for the first time next semester, one thing that I’ve been giving much thought to is the fact that students are expected to participate in the creation of a creative work in these c... [Amos] [music] [Bible] [Hymn]


I shared many of my thoughts about the Ehrman-Price debate verbally in the conversation afterwards. But there are more points that I jotted down during the debate and/or thought of afterwards, and so I’ll share them here. Hopefully a video of the de... [mythicism] [Bart Ehrman] [comic books] [debate] [Elvis] [H. P. Lovecraft] [historical Jesus] [mythicists] [Reflections] [robert price] [Thoughts]

October 21, 8PM

Here’s the recording of the conversation that James Crossley, Daniel Gullotta, David Fitzgerald and myself had with Arick Mittler and Matt Kovacs about the debate between Bart Ehrman and Robert Price over the historicity of Jesus, in case you missed... [mythicism] [Bart Ehrman] [creationism] [Daniel Gullotta] [David Fitzgerald] [historical] [historicity] [James Crossley] [jesus] [mythicist] [mythicists] [Robert M. Price] [robert price]


Some of us watching the debate last night knew that the real big debate is taking place on the evening of October 21st – today! I’m happy that, despite not having been able to drive today to where it is occurring, I will nevertheless be able ... [mythicism] [Bart D. Ehrman] [conference] [historical] [jesus] [Robert M. Price]


Given that I’ve now had my first plagiarism case of the semester, the time seems right to comment on this topic. Let me begin with an infographic that explains different kinds of plagiarism and evaluates them in terms of their severity, since it see... [Academia] [education] [music] [academics] [borrowing] [commentaries] [commentary] [dishonesty] [honesty] [intellectual] [John Cage] [Plagiarism] [Professors] [scholars] [Silence] [students] [Theft]

October 20, 3AM

This might actually be the best argument against understanding the creation of humans in the  “image of God” in terms of our appearance… [Genesis] [humor] [Image of God] [meme]

October 19, 7AM

A blog reader alerted me that the comments on an older post, “Your Daily Dose of Mythicism,” had gone missing. With the help of determined tech support staff at Patheos, those Disqus comments have been restored. There are hundreds of them, an... [biblioblogging] [Patheos] [blog] [comments] [Disqus] [Technology]


Rev. Bob Yount’s sermon this past Sunday is the basis for my reflections in this blog post. He emphasized that the church was never supposed to be a place that people are brought to in order to hear the gospel. It is supposed to be a place where Ch... [Christianity] [church] [evangelism] [mission] [Preaching] [sermon]

October 18, 3AM

Yesterday I discussed one attempted solution to the problem of evil that students wrestled with, taking J. L. Mackie’s classic article, “Evil and Omnipotence,” as their starting point, together with the Book of Job and an excerpt from Th... [Theodicy] [theology] [anthropocentrism] [cosmos] [Creation] [evil] [God] [good] [Steven Law] [universe]

October 17, 7AM

The first blog review of my book has been offered, by Bob Cornwall. Click through to read it. It is a delight to have the first such review be written by someone who shares my love for both theology and science fiction! (Keith was the first to write an Am... [book review] [science fiction] [theology] [Bob Cornwall] [Review]


As I’ve been reading student papers about the problem of evil, several have offered the free will defense, arguing that free will is necessary for there to be love. That seems to me to be correct, but it has some corollaries that should not be misse... [Theodicy] [eternal] [free will] [love] [problem of evil] [punishment] [robots] [threat] [torment] [torture]

October 16, 3AM

I thought it would be appropriate to mention here the compositions of Gabrielle Cerberville, a Butler graduate who composed a work that took the story of the binding of Isaac as its starting point. This was part of a seminar series that is led by Rabbi Sa... [Genesis] [music] [Abraham] [Akedah] [composer] [compositions] [Gabrielle Cerberville] [Isaac] [Ruach]

October 15, 11AM

I am surprised that Hemant Mehta is so impressed with this exam answer a student gave to a question about the Big Bang: On the one hand, theism doesn’t posit a floating man in the sky. And in context the suggestion is self evidently silly, since by... [atheism] [physics] [atheists] [Big Bang] [Creation] [God] [science] [theology]


This came my way in The Toast some while back, and I have been meaning to share it ever sense. “Behold” is an awkward archaism that Bible translators regularly preserve, because alternatives don’t consistently have the same function in m... [Bible] [humor] [behold] [buddy] [funny] [look] [replace] [translation]

October 14, 3AM

Mythicism is complete and utter nonsense, especially when it thinks that there is something profound in making a comparison between Jesus and Batman. (See my earlier post on clarifying Gospel genres for a confused mythicist.) But I must admit, the depicti... [mythicism] [Batman] [church] [jesus] [superheroes]

October 13, 12 PM

For those who may not have seen it yet. IO9 as usual has a scene-by-scene breakdown of the details. [Star Wars] [Rogue One] [trailer]


Matthew Montonini shared a quote from C. F. D. Moule about history and faith. Here is a longer excerpt: Decision there must be if there is to be Christian faith. Faith is faith, and no amount of photography and tape-recording of events could compel it. To... [historical Jesus] [Charles F. D. Moule] [faith] [history] [jesus] [quote]

October 12, 8AM

This election has witnessed a lot of firsts. Most recent, as of my writing this, is that the Clergy Letter Project has endorsed a presidential candidate for the first time. You won’t be surprised that the candidate in question is Hillary Clinton. I... [evolution] [politics] [science] [Star Wars] [Candidates] [Clergy Letter Project] [crooked] [Donald Trump] [election] [Hillary Clinton] [Jabba the Hutt] [meme] [president]


Let me start this round-up of recent blogging about Christology with a quote from a blog post by Larry Hurtado: All early expressions of Christology have a “subordinationist” character, in that they portray Jesus as sent, empowered, vindicated, and gl... [Christology] [adonai] [Anthony Buzzard] [Apologetics] [Bart Ehrman] [debate] [Divine] [Greek] [Hebrew] [jesus] [Justin Bass] [kurios] [Larry W. Hurtado] [LORD] [name] [subordination] [translation] [Yhwh]
Via Hemant Mehta. What other clickbait headlines can you come up with for Biblical stories? [Bible] [humor] [clickbait] [old testament]

October 11, 12 PM

A friend mentioned on Facebook having seen a billboard with these words on it at Oregon Health and Science University. I couldn’t find a picture of that actual billboard online, and so I made a meme with the phrase. It is indeed a great one. “... [inspirational] [answer] [Billboard] [health] [Oregon] [questions] [science] [university]


As I’ve been talking with my students about the problem of evil, and their papers on the topic, it struck me that there is a parallel between the educational experience that I’ve been subjecting them to, and the idea of greater good emerging ... [education] [Theodicy] [best of all possible universities] [best of all possible worlds] [Butler University] [customized] [doubt] [faith] [First Year Seminar] [individualized] [J. L. Mackie] [problem of evil] [reason]

October 10, 6AM

Charles Haberl kindly provided these details in response to my question about a Mandaean-owned restaurant in San Antonio: The restaurant you’re looking for is (appropriately enough) called El Rio. It’s at 1361 S Main St #600, Boerne, TX 78006... [American Academy of Religion] [Mandaeans] [Society of Biblical Literature] [#aarsbl16] [AAR] [Mandaean] [restaurant] [SBL]


Recently we had what I thought was a really fantastic discussion in my Religion and Science Fiction class about whether we ought to allow a robot candidate for president. There are so many interesting ethical questions that intersect with this! Obviously ... [politics] [science fiction] [democracy] [ends] [freedom of speech] [means] [political correctness] [social justice warriors]

October 9, 7AM

Before anyone suggests otherwise, let me emphasize that I am not claiming that mythicism always or even regularly leads to support of Trump. Most people manage to keep their problematic reasoning compartmentalized. But as William Clifford warned long ago,... [mythicism] [politics] [atheist] [climate change] [denial] [denialism] [Donald Trump] [hoax] [mythicists] [Robert M. Price]


Here is a sung version of the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic/Syriac. HT Thomas Bolin on Facebook [aramaic] [syriac] [lord's prayer] [music]

October 8, 6PM

We’ve been given the first glimpses of the Doctor Who Christmas Special. It will be called “The Return of Doctor Mysterio.” In other news, Peter Capaldi apparently wants there to be an episode in which the Doctor awakes to find himself t... [Doctor Who] [BBC] [Christmas] [special] [superhero]


Hemant Mehta posted an SMBC comic in which someone asks God about the story of Jael in the Book of Judges. The story about Jael (and Deborah) is not at all hard to understand. It is about two women who rise to the challenge of defeating an enemy of their... [Judges] [bad puns] [Bible] [feminism] [innuendo] [Jael] [peg] [Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal] [Sisera] [SMBC] [tent] [violence] [War]


I recently spoke to Marc Allan, our university press liaison, about my latest book, Theology and Science Fiction. Click through to read the press release that he wrote. Professor McGrath Finds the Intersection of Theology and Science Fiction [science fiction] [theology] [Marc Allan] [press release]

October 7, 6AM

It had been a while since I had heard this fabulous piece of music, but it was on the radio yesterday, and so I had to offer it to blog readers to listen to as well. Enjoy! [music] [Arutiunian] [concerto] [trumpet]


I assume that most people will get the joke. Of related interest, there was an article recently about the fact that we are not living in reality because our senses and minds are not formed to really show reality to us. [humor] [information literacy] [Dunning-Kruger Effect] [Fight Club funny]

October 6, 8AM

Every working day, I pass by a plaque that was set up to commemorate my installation as the Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature. Lately, the difference between myself and the photo has been noticeable, even jarring. But yes... [Academia] [Clarence L. Goodwin] [Photos] [weight loss]


Jacob Wright wrote the following on Facebook, and I asked for permission to share it. The worst way to evangelize is to ask someone that “if they died tonight do they know they would go to heaven.” The reason is because it’s not the gosp... [Christianity] [evangelism] [gospel]

October 5, 7AM

Letting you know about this upcoming event. It is close to sold out, so if you plan to attend, you should act fast! [Progressive Christianity] [Charles Allen] [Christian Theological Seminary] [Grace Unlimited] [politics] [Rob Bell] [Spiritual]


I’m having conversations with colleagues about making some variations of Canon that focus on core curriculum learning outcomes, literary or musical canons, and one or more new games focusing on chord formation and chord progressions in music. The ... [education] [games] [brand] [gamification] [gaming] [H(igher) Ed Games] [H.Ed. Games] [higher education]

October 4, 8PM

After watching the vice-presidential debate this evening, I was struck by many things. But the highlight for me was when, after Pence had brought forth his Evangelical credentials, and then defended Trump for some things he had said by emphasizing that ... [gospel of luke] [politics] [Christian] [debate] [Donald Trump] [Hillary Clinton] [human being] [meme] [Mike Pence] [polished] [politician] [Tim Kaine]


If you’re among those who’ve been waiting for my latest book to be available on Amazon, your wait is over. It is now listed as in stock! In addition to the paperback book, it is also available for Kindle. And you can find it through Amazon in ... [science fiction] [theology] [Amazon] [book] [Cascade] [Cascade Companions] [James F. McGrath] [Wipf & Stock] [Wipf and Stock]


The video above includes video footage of Elaine Pagels receiving a National Humanities Medal for her work. Fast forward to 26:21 for that part. The video was drawn to my attention in an article in NewsWorks which also includes a lot of interesting detai... [Academia] [Evangelicals] [award] [Barack Obama] [Elaine Pagels] [Honor] [humanities] [medal] [president]

October 3, 3AM

October 2, 3AM

What do you think? Do you find this analogy helpful? Of related interest, see Will Hart Brown’s reflections on comparisons between creation in Babylonian myths and the Bible. [Genesis] [ink blot] [Interpretation]

October 1, 3AM

This meme was inspired by a comment left on Facebook, after I shared Robert Holmstedt’s post about how to render the Hebrew word hevel in Ecclesiastes 1:2 and elsewhere. I think “dust in the wind” (a la Kansas) is a better fit than the ... [Ecclesiastes] [dust] [Hebrew] [Kansas] [meaningless] [translation] [vanity] [wind]

September 30, 11AM

Here is a link to a flyer about my new book, Theology and Science Fiction. It may be useful for you to pass it on to your local university or public library, as a recommendation for them to purchase it. [science fiction] [theology] [flyer]


Jonathan Bernier noted in a recent post “the special pleading involved in rejecting a consensus position adopted by virtually every New Testament scholar (that Jesus existed) while accepting without reflection a consensus position adopted by most bu... [mythicism] [atheists] [Jonathan Bernier] [mythicists] [quote] [Randal Rauser]

September 29, 3AM

Sometimes my class on Religion and Science Fiction seems to be incredibly practical, despite the impression the title might give. Yesterday we talked about whether it would be a good idea to ask an artificial intelligence whether God exists. The conversa... [politics] [science fiction] [Technology] [AI] [artificial intelligence] [candidate] [debate] [Donald Trump] [Hillary Clinton] [machines] [president] [R2-D2] [religion] [Robot] [robots] [Tobor]

September 28, 3AM

There’s going to be a conference about apocalypse in popular culture at the University of Hull next summer. Daria Pezzoli-Olgiati and Robert Geraci will be the keynote speakers. Here’s the call for papers: The aim of this conference is to exp... [Call for Papers] [science fiction] [apocalypse] [apocalyptic] [Call for Papers] [CFP] [conference] [England] [UK]

September 27, 3AM

Chris Keith and Steve Walton drew attention to the videos that have been made available of the papers read at the conference about memory and Jesus at St. Mary’s University. I’m delighted these have been made available, since I wanted to atten... [New Testament] [conference] [jesus] [memory] [video]

September 26, 6PM

My author copies of Theology and Science Fiction (in the Cascade Companions series) arrived today. Since it is just out, it is still listed as out of stock on Amazon. But it is available at a significant discount through the publisher’s website. [science fiction] [theology] [Cascade]


I mentioned the possibility that “The Skittles Problem” might replace “The Trolley Problem” as the go-to illustration in ethics classes. I am now almost certain that it won’t – unless we get as many amazing Skittles p... [memes] [morality] [philosophy] [Donald Trump] [meme] [Philosophical] [problem] [Skittles] [thought experiment] [trolley]


It was about 8 years ago that I blogged about the strange question that is involved in debating God as understood by a wide array of liberal, existentialist, panentheist, pantheist, and/or mystical religious people. “Does being exist?” seems t... [atheism] [Progressive Christianity] [being] [existence] [God] [Liberal] [Paul Tillich] [ultimate]

September 25, 3AM

While talking with Shayna Sheinfeld and Meredith Warren in Italy this summer, they suggested that it would be fun to organize a conference panel in which all the papers had the same title, with only the subtitle differing. The common title that we st... [Academia] [humor] [Society of Biblical Literature] [#TheBirdIsTheWord] [conference] [Conference Papers] [funny] [papers] [SBL] [titles]

September 24, 3AM

Having just submitted an article that I had been working on, I am shifting to my next projects which will be a focus of attention in coming months. One of them is a reference article on creation in popular culture. I thought I would ask for input from a w... [Creation] [Article] [crowdsourcing] [popular culture] [reference]

September 23, 3PM


You’ve gotten a sneak peek at the inside. Here’s a glimpse of what’s going to be on the outside of my next book. First, the front cover:   And then here are the endorsements from the back: [science fiction] [theology] [book] [Cascade Companions] [cover] [endorsements] [sneak peek]

September 22, 6AM

I apologize for the language in this Facebook post, but it seemed worth sharing. I could see the Skittles problem replacing the trolley problem as the go-to ethics thought experiment in coming years… [morality] [philosophy] [ethics] [refugees] [Skittles]


I have shared a thought experiment here before, one which I was actually introduced to here on this blog by a commenter almost a decade ago. It focuses on the question, “What would it take to make you lose your faith?” It came up here again re... [religion] [experiment] [faith] [TARDIS] [thought] [time machine] [time travel]

September 21, 4AM

The above video is by a former Tulsa police chief. Please watch it for an insider’s perspective on the background and context to the most recent shooting of an unarmed black man with his hands in the air. If white people who try to justify the shoot... [morality] [#blacklivesmatter] [Police] [racism] [Shooting] [Terence Crutcher] [Tulsa] [unarmed]

September 20, 3AM

Jonathan Bernier made the remark above on Facebook, and I asked for permission to share it. The context was a discussion of Calvinism’s view that God creates some humans expressly for the purpose of being tormented for eternity – something whi... [theology] [Calvinism] [election] [hypocrisy] [john calvin] [Jonathan Bernier] [predestination] [quote]

September 19, 8AM

Here are two videos of the lunchtime talk about gamification in higher education that I and two colleagues gave last Friday. One was made with a video camera in the room, the other using Panopto screen capture.   [education] [games] [Butler University] [gamification] [gaming] [Gen Con] [higher education] [pedagogy]


Allan Bevere shared the above quote from Stanley Hauerwas’ book Cross-Shattered Christ a while back. Given the discussion generated by the last quote about mystery and God that I shared, I thought I should follow up with another one! [theology] [Allan Bevere] [God] [mystery]

September 18, 3AM

Via 3QuarksDaily, I learned of this piece by Lewis Lapham about the end times. Since it relates to several of my academic and personal interests, and the intersection between them, I thought I should share it. Here is an excerpt: The spectacle of disaste... [eschatology] [9/11] [apocalypse] [apocalyptic] [Isis] [Left Behind] [Tim LaHaye]

September 17, 11AM

In a Facebook comment, Shane McKee wrote: “Deutero-Isaiah, sometimes called “heavy Isaiah”, is detectable if you use a mass spectrometer. It’s a common isaiahtope.” So much punny goodness in a mere two sentences! I am glad he... [humor] [Isaiah] [bad puns] [deuterium] [Deutero-Isaiah] [heavy water] [Isotope]


When I have drawn up lists in the past of famous people who have majored in religion, and things you can do it you major in religion, I’ve neglected to mention James Wyatt. The name may not be immediately recognizable to everyone, but his work ... [games] [D&D] [Deities] [demigods] [Dungeons & Dragons] [Dungeons and Dragons] [gaming] [minister] [religion] [religious studies] [RPGs] [United Methodist] [Wizards of the Coast] [WOTC]

September 16, 5PM

The subject of canon in sci-fi and Biblical studies isn’t just something I’ve created a card game to explore. It is the focus of a chapter in my forthcoming book, Theology and Science Fiction, in the Cascade Companions series. The publisher, ... [Star Trek] [Bible] [canon] [card game] [Cascade Companions] [flow chart] [Harry Potter] [novels] [preview] [Star Wars] [Wipf & Stock]


I enjoyed this video which pokes fun at the difference between hacking as depicted in movies like The Matrix, and in real life. My blog name may have changed, but I’m still “exploring our matrix.” [humor] [Technology] [The Matrix] [hacker] [Hackers] [hacking] [Matrix] [parody] [video]


Matters of Christology are getting renewed attention, including on blogs, but also in some important new books. Larry Hurtado discussed whether early Christian devotion to Jesus provoked criticism and opposition from non-Christian Jews. Bill Tammaeus in t... [Christology] [Gospel of John] [Monotheism] [devotion] [jesus] [Jewish] [Larry Hurtado] [Larry W. Hurtado]

September 15, 3AM

There is a healthy dose of agnosticism in my worldview. There is much that I don’t know, and I am aware that I don’t know, and that some thing I think I know, I do not know with certainty. Yet ultimately I self-identify as a Christian and not... [Roman Catholicism] [agnosticism] [Aidan Kimel] [st. thomas aquinas] [Thomism] [Victor White]

September 14, 12 PM

When I saw this in the description of a course taught at a German university, I had to laugh: The information on the page in question is otherwise in English. [Academia] [Englisch] [English] [German] [university]


I had the idea for the above variation on the Serenity Prayer during a recent conversation about the fact that those of us who oversee programs such as a core curriculum may not have authority to make faculty conform with either best practices, or even... [Academia] [administration] [administrator] [administrators] [core curriculum] [Serenity Prayer] [university]


It is amazing the things you find when your interests intersect in unusual ways. The American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting is in San Antonio this year, and that also happens to be the city with the largest Man... [Mandaeans] [music] [#aarsbl16] [AAR] [American Academy of Religion] [San Antonio] [SBL] [Society of Biblical Literature]

September 13, 3AM

The Canon card game is barely released, and Jim Davila is already suggesting that there should be an augmented reality digital version. I’d be delighted, personally, if the game I designed led to people getting exercise. A Facebook commenter came up... [games] [Augmented reality] [bad puns] [canon] [card] [card game] [card games] [Pokemon] [Pokemon Go]

September 12, 5AM

Created by Ruth Mostern. I may decide to put this image on my syllabuses from now on…   [education] [humor] [assignments] [mirror] [syllabus]


In discussing Canon: The Card Game on Facebook, Anthony Mills mentioned Cards Against Humanity as an example of a game he currently enjoys playing. I suggested that a religion or Bible-themed version might be called Cards Against Divinity. He followed up ... [games] [humor] [Bible] [Cards Against Humanity] [Divinity] [funny] [religion]

September 11, 3PM

I confess that when a friend of mine posted a link on Facebook to an article about a Bible that was found fused to a piece of steel in the wreckage from the collapsed Twin Towers after 9/11, I hesitated to click, and expected it to be the kind of thing th... [Gospel of Matthew] [9/11] [Bible] [Ground Zero] [jesus] [nonviolence] [retaliation] [sermon on the mount] [terrorism] [terrorists] [Twin Towers] [World Trade Center]


Biblical Studies Online shared a number of videos from a conference about insiders, outsiders, and religious identity past and present. Below are a couple that will be especially interesting to those who share my research focuses. But click through and ex... [Academia] [religion] [conflict] [Identity] [insiders] [Lectures] [Other] [others] [outsiders] [scholars] [videos]


Healthy religion, truly liberating religion says that wherever you find compassion at work, care for the sick and hurting, wherever you find people working for peace, welcoming the marginalized and disenfranchised, lifting up the downtrodden, caring for t... [Progressive Christianity] [Chuck Queen] [Progressive Christianity] [quote]

September 10, 8AM

What do you think? Is this a good way to use humor to poke fun at one of the objectionable implications of Calvinism? [humor] [theology] [#AllLivesMatter] [#blacklivesmatter] [#somelivesmatter] [Calvinism]


My church, Crooked Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis, is searching for a new minister, most likely one who will serve in a bi-vocational capacity or shared with another congregation. Because I am involved in the search, I’ve put together a brief ... [Baptists] [American Baptist] [bivocational] [congregation] [Crooked Creek Baptist Church] [history] [Indianapolis] [Job] [opportunity] [pastor] [search] [shared] [vacancy]


From Bizarro Comics. What do you think a religion professor’s reply should be to a student who tries to use this creative excuse? [humor] [religion] [Bizarro] [cartoon] [comic] [homework]

September 9, 12 PM

There is a job opening in my department. Here are the details: Professor of Philosophy, Tenure-Track – College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Position Overview The Department of Philosophy, Religion, and Classics at Butler University seeks to hire a ten... [Academia] [philosophy] [academic] [Butler University] [jobs] [openings] [philosopher]


It is that time of year again, when professors of religion, biblical studies, and other such fields realize that they have to start preparing for the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature in November. Of cou... [American Academy of Religion] [biblioblogging] [Society of Biblical Literature] [#aarsbl16] [AAR] [bibliobloggers] [Biblioblogs] [bloggers] [blogging] [blogs] [Dinner] [Event] [San Antonio] [SBL]


TheologyGrams has been quiet for a while. Then the pie chart above appeared. Let’s hope this is just the beginning of renewed humorous activity over there. Do you agree with the proportions in the pie chart? Why or why not? [humor] [Micah] [cowbell] [pie chart]


The last time my Religion and Science Fiction class met, we continued a conversation about Arthur C. Clarke’s story “The Nine Billion Names of God.” Since the story mentions motorized prayer wheels at a monastery in Tibet, I thought th... [Technology] [App] [Arthur C. Clarke] [God] [Personal] [pray] [Prayer] [Relationship] [science fiction] [Siri] [theology] [Tibet]

September 8, 8AM

I’ve been rewatching Star Trek: The Original Series from the beginning lately. Although I still have Doctor Who episodes to blog about before I will be done with my blog through the entire classic series, it seems that on the 50th anniversary of the... [Star Trek] [anniversary] [birthday] [sexism] [The Man Trap] [Uhura]


IO9 highlighted what it called the “surprising” intersection of Islam and sci-fi. The only thing surprising, to me, was that this is described as surprising – and that seems to just be a case of a clickbait title, since the article itse... [Islam] [science fiction] [anthology] [Muslim] [Short Stories]

September 7, 7AM

I saw the above on Reddit and knew I had to share it. It is the creation of Zach Weinersmith, the person behind Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comics. It is apparently a real product that you can purchase, although you can also download a pdf version ... [Bible] [humor] [abridged] [funny] [Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal] [SMBC] [useful]


Coming up soon. Apparently it is already enrolled nearly to capacity! For those who are wondering, I will not just talk about Canon the card game at the event, but will focus on the underlying rationale behind developing individual game activities, and... [education] [games] [Butler University] [faculty] [food for thought] [Franny Gaede] [gaming] [Jason Goldsmith] [Lunch] [pedagogy] [students]

September 6, 8AM

A video made by someone who doesn’t know that employment rates for those who major in religious studies are comparable to those of any other major. Can you guess which three they chose for the video? Which three would you have focused on, if not the... [education] [religion] [degree] [John Green] [major] [religious studies] [university]


I just learned that, through a bit of poor communication within my department, I’ll be teaching my new core curriculum course on the Bible and Music the same semester that my colleague teaches his course on the Psalms. Although we would have avoid... [Psalms] [america] [Bay Psalm Book] [Bible] [music]

September 5, 3AM

The above lecture by Mark Harris, given at the Faraday Institute in Cambridge, came to my attention recently. [religion] [science] [clash] [conflict] [Faraday] [Lecture] [Mark Harris] [War] [worldviews]

September 4, 8AM

September 3, 7PM

Canon: The Card Game is now available for purchase! There are currently three decks available: The Fandom Edition Deck 1 The New Testament Edition Deck 1 The Old Testament Edition Deck 1 If you click through to the Game Crafter website using any of the ab... [Bible] [games] [card] [card game] [cards] [game]



September 2, 9AM

J. K. Turner has posted the latest Biblical Studies Carnival. Phil Long has additional information about upcoming carnivals. There could totally be a version of the Canon card game focused on whether various blogs are “biblioblogs” or not̷... [Biblical Studies Carnival] [biblioblogging] [Biblioblogs]


Blogging Theology reminded me of the above image from TheologyGrams, which I shared here once before a while back, comparing the views of Calvin, Arminius, and Darth Vader. And on a similar matter of space theology, Remnant of Giants explored the questi... [science fiction] [Star Wars] [theology] [Arminianism] [C. S. Lewis] [Calvinism] [Darth Vader] [extraterrestrial] [Jerome Eckstein] [Vaderism]

September 1, 9AM

How will the world end? It will be issued in by the “Trump of God.” The King James Version translators didn’t know that they needed to capitalize “Trump.” How could they? It all makes sense now… [1 Thessalonians] [humor] [politics] [1 Corinthians 15:52] [1 Thessalonians 4:16] [bad puns] [Donald Trump] [prophecies] [Prophecy] [Trump] [trumpet]


August 31, 8AM

A symphony based on and incorporating parts of the Revelation of John, as well as poems by Hjalmar Gullberg. Composed in the context of World War II and the expansion of the Nazis into Scandinavia. Just one of the ever-increasing number of pieces that I... [music] [Revelation] [apocalypse] [Hilding Rosenberg] [Nazis] [Revelation] [Symphony]


Canon: The Card Game has gone from being an idea, to a clear concept, to a game with printed cards, and most recently, to a game I’ve played in two settings: my Sunday school class at church, and then with the students in my Religion and Science Fic... [games] [Bible] [Butler University] [canon] [card game] [class] [fandom] [game] [religion] [Religion and Science Fiction] [science fiction] [students]

August 30, 3AM

On my return visit to Rome, one of the churches I happened to pass and so popped into was San Martino ai Monti. It is less frequented by tourists, and yet there has been a church on this spot since around the year 500! Join me for a brief look around in... [Italy] [Roman Catholicism] [church] [Franciscan] [Rome]

August 29, 9AM

I’m grateful to PZ Myers for sharing a link to the LEGO Grad Student. The image above is just a sample. Here is one more: Click through for more! [Academia] [grad student] [grad students] [lego]


One church that I happened to walk past in Rome and so entered was the Church of the Gesù. I didn’t know at the time that it was connected with the founding of the Society of Jesus – the Jesuits. What I did recognize immediately was that it... [art] [Italy] [Roman Catholicism] [church] [Jesuits] [Rome]

August 28, 3AM

Some of the most delightful moments in my exploring Rome this summer were unscripted moments when I happened to be passing a church and decided to enter. Sometimes I found incredible works of art. Once I found a performance going on of Karl Jenkins’... [Italy] [music] [church] [concert] [Karl Jenkins] [Rome] [sightseeing] [Stabat Mater]

August 27, 3AM

In fact, they read it all the way through, paying close attention to detail, on more than one occasion. It seems to me as though many Christians who claim to take the Bible seriously actually merely pay lip service to it. Perhaps someone should write a sp... [Bible] [Harry Potter] [Friendly Atheist] [meme] [reading]

August 26, 5PM

About a year ago I mentioned my interest in creating a game that would illustrate the dynamics of canon formation in simplified form, in a way that was fun but also infirmative and educational. Some of you may have been wondering whether anything was goin... [Bible] [games] [science fiction] [Biblical] [canon] [canons] [card game] [conference] [education] [fandom] [gaming]


From College Humor via Hemant Mehta. New commandment #9 is especially important, but so are many others. I don’t know about you, but I think there is something serious that emerges from this humorous video. What we prohibit and command as a society ... [Exodus] [humor] [College Humor] [Moses] [Ten Commandments] [update]


Readers of this blog already know that a real life archaeologist doesn’t look like Indiana Jones. Rather than ask, “but what does a real life archaeologist look like?” there is a more interesting question: “What does the world lo... [Archaeology] [archaeologist] [archaeologists] [video]

August 25, 3AM

The quote comes from George Zebrowski’s introduction to the volume Strange Gods edited by Roger Elwood. I was fortunate enough to happen across a copy in a second-hand bookstore recently, and snatched it up. Zebrowski’s statement published in ... [religion] [science] [science fiction] [bigots] [conflict] [George Zebrowski] [quote]

August 24, 3PM

The Babylon Bee is sort of the Christian equivalent of The Onion, with spoof news and similar offerings. Today, they announced that Zondervan had published a Choose Your Own Adventure Bible: While the folks at Babylon Bee were using this idea to poke fun... [Bible] [Babylon] [bee] [Choose Your Own Adventure] [CYOA] [humor] [satire] [Zondervan]


This joke shared in a comment seemed worth sharing in a blog post: An angel appears to the American Philosophical Association conference, and announces “God has deigned to answer one question. You have a week to decide; I will return and give you t... [humor] [philosophy] [American Philosophical Association] [angel] [answer] [apa] [God] [joke] [Question]


A piece that I wrote for the Latvian national music organization back in 2004 vanished from the internet at some point. I recently discovered that I still had the text of the piece in an e-mail, and so I thought I would share it here.   Authentic P... [music] [Baptist] [Butler University] [composer] [Latvia] [Peteris Vasks] [religion] [Spirituality] [study abroad]

August 23, 6AM

It should come as no surprise to anyone to learn that the chariot race from the original Ben Hur movie inspired the pod race scene in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. IO9 shared this video that intersperses the two for comparison: Is it just the c... [Star Wars] [Ben Hur] [chariot] [chariots] [movies] [pod race] [Race]


A McSweeney’s piece offered an alleged WikiLeaks reveal of faculty e-mails. What it depicts sounds like it could have been an exchange among some professors at my own institution. What about yours? It may or may not be an actual e-mail exchange f... [education] [Technology] [classroom] [complaints] [list-serv] [Professors] [students] [texting]

August 22, 6PM

Another great comic from Existential Comics. I think it makes some serious and not only humorous points. Do you agree? [afterlife] [humor] [philosophy] [comic] [Existential Comics] [funny] [meaning of life] [philosopher] [Pokemon Go]


I think we have three options. One is to say “you should already know the answer to that question” and carry on. One is to say “Please come to my office hours.” And one other is to recognize that, if we were in their situation, w... [Academia] [education] [classes] [Professors] [students] [syllabus] [university]

August 21, 3AM

The first episode of the Key to Time series of episodes, “The Ribos Operation,” introduces a deity, as well as another time lord as the Doctor’s travel companion for the first time (unless I am mistaken) since his granddaughter Susan was... [Doctor Who] [guardian] [guardians] [key] [Romana] [Time] [time lords]

August 20, 3AM

The Invasion of Time is a true classic of the Tom Baker era. It is one of many episodes in which the Doctor seems to be behaving erratically, and we the viewer are made to wonder how he can be doing some of the things that we see him doing. At the beginn... [Doctor Who] [Gallifrey] [Leela] [president] [Rassilon] [reason] [Sontarans] [time lords] [Tom Baker]

August 19, 3AM

This image on the Pictoral Theology blog shows one of the more bizarre responses of some atheists to some theologians. If someone is talking about a different idea of God than the Biblical depiction, and knows it, then how is responding in terms of the Bi... [theology] [atheists] [God] [Miracles] [sophisticated]

August 18, 4AM

I apologize for the language in this, but it still seemed worth sharing, especially as it came my way so close to the first day of classes of the new academic year: The Indiana Jones and Lara Croft movies, in which the archaeologist swoops in and takes t... [Archaeology] [humor] [archaeologist] [archaeologists] [funny] [Hollywood] [Indiana Jones] [Lara Croft] [movies] [realistic] [Robert Langdon]

August 17, 6AM

The above cartoon by David Hayward provides a really nice illustration of the issues related to foundationalism – even if there appear to be two blocks missing from the set. But the person in the cartoon doesn’t appear to be playing the game p... [Progressive Christianity] [beliefs] [cartoon] [certainty] [David Hayward] [doubt] [faith] [foundationalism] [Jenga] [learning] [worldview]


As I prepare to teach a course on the Bible and music in the Spring for the first time, I am on the lookout for new and/or interesting music at the intersection of the two. And so I am grateful to Abram Kielsmeier-Jones for sharing these bluegrass setting... [music] [Psalms] [Bluegrass] [Songs]

August 16, 8AM

Sometimes Christians wear t-shirts that they hope will make conversations about their faith happen, without the awkwardness of having to try to inject it into the conversation. Atheists do the same. And it isn’t just t-shirts. Hats, pens, cups, bu... [inspirational] [beverage] [climate change] [coastlines] [kitch] [mug] [oceans] [T-shirt] [umbrella]


When I visited Jordan for the first time this summer, one of the destinations was Madaba. The city historically has one of the largest Christian populations in the country, and one of its churches, the Church of St. George, has what remains of an ancien... [Travel] [holy land] [Jordan] [Madaba] [MAP] [Mosaic]

August 15, 6AM

Here is the video from the service that I led at Crooked Creek Baptist Church yesterday, focused on the theme of idolatry and the image of God, and exploring that theme in scripture, song, and reflections. The service started off with the video that I sha... [Exodus] [Monotheism] [Crooked Creek Baptist Church] [idolatry] [music] [sermon] [Songs]


Just as it was a privilege to read and review a book about Galilee while visiting Galilee and adjacent territories, so too it was a privilege to read Michael Stone’s book Ancient Judaism: New Visions and Views while traveling to and participating at... [book review] [Judaism] [Dead Sea Scrolls] [extracanonical] [Jewish] [literature] [Michael Stone] [pseudepigrapha]

August 14, 3PM

My son made the above video presentation about the trip to Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan this summer. I hope you enjoy it! [israel] [Travel] [Butler University] [Documentary] [holy land] [Jordan] [Palestine] [study abroad]



I’ve mentioned before the role-playing game that others had drawn to my attention, to replicate the Council of Nicaea (the book will be out in December). Not having explored the site sufficiently, I hadn’t realized the extent to which that pro... [games] [class] [classroom] [gamification] [history] [Mark Carnes] [role play] [role playing games] [RPG]

August 13, 5PM

I was asked on Reddit about a topic that I blogged about at some point in the past, but not finding the post in question, I thought I would revisit the topic. The phrases “personal relationship with Jesus” and “personal savior” are... [Evangelicals] [evangelical] [evangelicalism] [faith] [jesus] [Personal] [quote] [Relationship] [Rich Mullins] [Scot McKnight]


Ancient World Online shared the above playlist of videos for learning ancient Greek, courtesy of the Center for Hellenic Studies. I haven’t watched them, but I’m sure they’ll be useful to some readers! [Greek] [ancient] [lessons] [professor] [videos] [YouTube]


Another good one from Existential Comics, providing humor at the intersection of sci-fi, philosophy, and ethics: [humor] [philosophy] [Athenian] [cartoon] [comic] [Existential Comics] [Jurassic Park] [Socrates]

August 12, 6PM

Biblical Studies Online drew attention to these videos of Bart Ehrman going to church…to talk about How Jesus Became God: [Christology] [Bart Ehrman] [church] [jesus] [Lectures] [videos] [YouTube]


IO9 shared the above trailer to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story yesterday. Today they followed up with a breakdown scene by scene, to make sure you don’t miss anything!   [Star Wars] [Darth Vader] [movie] [rebellion] [rogue] [spoilers] [trailer] [video]


I wish I could make it to this amazing-looking conference coming up in September… The Unbelievable Past Conference, 14–16 September, 2016 Fragments of an Unbelievable Past? Constructions of Provenance, Narratives of Forgery University of Agder We... [Academia] [Gospel of Jesus' Wife] [conference] [Fakes] [forgery] [Manuscripts] [modern]


The highlight of visiting Camaldoli in Italy this summer (other than the Enoch Seminar academic conference itself) was the visit to the hermitage higher up on the mountain, and seeing some of the precious old books in their library. I shared some photos w... [Italy] [Camaldoli] [hermitage] [library] [Manuscripts]

August 11, 12 PM

Usually things I have to say flow from the blog to Facebook rather than vice versa. But occasionally the flow reverses, and this is one such occasion. Since I finally received my print copy of the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, which I blogged abou... [Bible] [book review] [background] [backgrounds] [craig keener] [cultural] [Culture] [Facebook] [John Walton] [live] [Review] [Study Bible] [video] [Zondervan]


IO9 had a fascinating article recently about the growing number of people who list themselves as “Jedi” on the Australian census. Some atheists have started a campaign to discourage this, because they regard these self-declared Jedi as in fact... [atheism] [Star Wars] [Australia] [census] [Jedi] [temple]


Hemant Mehta shared the SMBC comic below. It makes a good point, don’t you think? If not, you probably stopped reading before the last panel… [atheism] [atheists] [comic] [Hemant Mehta] [humor] [misrepresentation] [monkeys] [satire] [Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal] [SMBC]

August 10, 3PM

I blogged previously about Daniel Kirk’s new book, A Man Attested By God. It is still listed on Amazon as available for pre-order. But Daniel received his copies and tweeted about it today, and so here is the photographic evidence that the book exi... [Christology] [blurb] [book] [Crispin Fletcher-Louis] [endorsement] [gospels] [human] [humanity] [J. Daniel Kirk] [J. R. Daniel Kirk] [jesus] [Morna Hooker] [Synoptic]


This meme came my way via God of Evolution on Facebook, and I have been meaning to share it for some time. [young-earth creationism] [Adam] [Genesis] [Interpretation] [Ken Ham] [origen] [young-earth creationists]

August 9, 3AM

Hemant Mehta shared the image above. What strikes me most is that the change seems striking to him, just as it would seem controversial to many religious fundamentalists. And so the most interesting question, for me, is whom you think that a change like t... [Genesis] [beginning] [fairy tales] [Once Upon a Time]

August 8, 2PM

For those who want to add some Evangelical New Testament commentaries to their ebook collection, Zondervan currently has a sale which begins today and runs until the end of the week: 80% off the usual price of select commentaries. Take a look and see if ... [New Testament] [commentaries] [Conservative] [evangelical] [price] [sale] [scholars] [Zondervan]


I just rewatched the science fiction movie The Black Hole, to introduce my son to it. I was particularly eager to see what I myself thought of the ending, and indeed whether it meant what I had interpreted it to mean when I watched it in my youth. And I w... [afterlife] [movies] [science fiction] [black hole] [Disney] [heaven] [hell] [movie] [robots] [Spiritual]

August 7, 3AM

The blog Pictoral Theology shared the above image, seemingly in response to posts of mine which emphasized that God is not an answer, God is a question and a mystery. I know there are some who will appeal to “mystery” in a self-serving way, ... [Progressive Christianity] [theology] [answer] [Apologetics] [cartoon] [explanation] [God] [mystery] [Question]

August 6, 3AM

My church building hosts not only the American congregation Crooked Creek Baptist Church (which is itself quite diverse in interesting ways), but also two other congregations, one Hispanic and one Congolese. There have been challenges related to the di... [Gospel of Matthew] [church] [Congo] [Congolese] [congregation] [Crooked Creek Baptist Church] [Culture] [Hispanic] [Indianapolis] [jesus] [Kinyarwanda] [misunderstanding] [obedience] [parable] [Rwanda] [sons]

August 5, 2PM

The last afternoon of the SNTS conference was dedicated to simultaneous short papers. The first such session I attended featured Roger Aus speaking about Jewish traditions related to Ezekiel 16:9 and their connection to 1 Corinthians 10:2. The Targum rewo... [1 Corinthians] [Ephesians] [Ezekiel] [Gnosticism] [apocalyptic] [baptism] [Carey Newman] [evil] [Gnosis] [Narrative] [powers] [Roger Aus] [SNTS]


This is the last day of the Society of New Testament Studies conference in Montreal. There was a chapel service in German, followed by the last of the main papers, Jens Herzer speaking about the Pastoral Epistles “Between Myth and Truth.” The ... [1 Timothy] [2 Timothy] [titus] [German] [Pastoral Epistles] [SNTS]


The page The Christian Left shared this image on Facebook, and a couple of comments that were made on it there deserve responses. First, you will sometimes hear that the Eye of the Needle was an actual gate in Jerusalem which a camel could indeed pass thr... [aramaic] [historical Jesus] [bad puns] [camel] [Donald Trump] [eye of a needle] [gate] [Jerusalem] [jesus] [rich] [rope]

August 4, 2PM

After lunch, Risto Uro spoke about the use of cognitive science in the study of early Christianity. He began by paying hommage to his own Doktorvater, Heikki Räisänen, who advocated a religious studies approach to New Testament studies. He then moved on... [Gospel of John] [New Testament] [science] [Adele Reinhartz] [bad puns] [brothers] [cognitive science] [early christianity] [Heikki Räisänen] [lying] [Uro Risto]


Today’s program started with a service in French. Very few members attend any of these chapel services, but today it was interesting to notice that almost everyone who was there was not a native speaker of French. Next on the program was the second ... [New Testament] [Ethnicity] [God] [gods] [Jewish] [Paula Fredriksen] [Uro Risto]


The above Dilbert comic strip came up in a recent discussion here about radically-emergent theism. The discussion that post generated was vigorous and interesting and in my opinion fruitful and illuminating. And so I thought I would share the cartoon and ... [humor] [cartoon] [comic] [Dilbert] [emergence] [God]

August 3, 2PM

The rest of the day featured three major components. The topical seminars had their first meeting. I am signed up for the one focused on the Gospel of John. The first seminar paper in this section was by Anni Hentschel and focused on intertextual relation... [art] [Gospel of John] [New Testament] [Caravaggio] [Carl Holladay] [Dennis MacDonald] [Jason BeDuhn] [Judith Lieu] [Marcion] [Matthias Klinghardt] [paintings] [Q] [reception] [Reception History] [SNTS] [synoptic problem]


One fascinating aspect of SNTS is the extent to which, because it is a European rather than a North American organization, it does not divide religious practice and critical scholarship the way an organization like SBL does. In the United States, there is... [Acts of the Apostles] [Carl Holladay] [church] [conference] [European] [John Ekem] [prayers] [president] [presidential] [religious freedom] [SNTS]


The start of the official SNTS program yesterday evening was with the first of two scheduled business meetings. Business meetings are not always emotionally moving, but two moments in this one were. The first was when the names of members who had passed a... [Christology] [Monotheism] [New Testament] [] [academics] [Adele Reinhartz] [bibliobloggers] [biblioblogging] [female] [Gender] [God] [Judith Lieu] [Margaret Mitchell] [Paula Fredriksen] [scholars] [SNTS] [women]

August 2, 11AM

I am in Montreal for the SNTS (Studiorum Novi Testamentum Societas, or if you prefer, Society for New Testament Studies) conference. I passed by the religion department and was spotted by a Facebook friend, Frederick Tappenden, who kindly showed me around... [New Testament] [Canada] [digital humanities] [Frederick Tappenden] [McGill University] [Montreal] [registration] [SNTS]


Phil Long posted the latest Biblical Studies Carnival on his blog. I’m traveling to Montreal today for this year’s SNTS conference, and if I can, I’ll blog about it while it is happening!   [Biblical Studies Carnival] [biblioblogging] [New Testament] [2016] [Canada] [conference] [Montreal] [SNTS] [Society for New Testament Studies] [Studiorum Novi Testamentum Societas]


I found this SMBC comic funny, even though its view of Paul’s proclamation is problematic. Paul didn’t even call his message or the movement it expressed “Christianity.” And he was adamant that the gospel he proclaimed was about g... [humor] [Paul and his letters] [Uncategorized] [backwards compatible] [cartoon] [Christianity] [comic] [compatibility] [epistle] [Judaism] [letter] [Paul] [programmer] [Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal] [SMBC]

August 1, 6PM

I agreed to review the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible by today, and although the print copy still has not reached me, I was given access to the ebook of the notes which are available through the Olive Tree app. The volume is edited by John Walton ... [book review] [background] [Bible] [cultural] [Culture] [NIV] [olive tree] [Study] [Zondervan]


I’m not sure why it took me so long to realize that the so-called “pro life” stance is, for the most part, a con, a scam, a diabolical deception. Perhaps it was the recent discussion on many blogs about voting for the “lesser of... [morality] [politics] [abortion] [babies] [Donald Trump] [Hillary Clinton] [infanticide] [miscarriage] [Murder] [pregnancy] [pro choice] [pro-life] [Wayne Grudem]

July 31, 5AM

The blog Pictoral Theology shared the above cartoon. The title of the post aptly made reference to Jesus’ words about commenting on the “mote” (or speck or splinter) in someone else’s eye, while having a beam or plank in one’... [Christianity] [humor] [Star Trek] [cosplay] [costumes] [Gen Con] [GenCon] [halloween] [mythos] [Myths] [religion] [Sci-fi]

July 30, 2AM

The above video is a fun illustration of something that is well-known to musicians but which sometimes surprises others: music recycles the same notes, chords, and intervals constantly. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Music is, after all, a kind of ... [music] [religion] [chords]

July 29, 3AM

I went to see Star Trek Beyond yesterday, and enjoyed it. It seems as though with each new film, the rebooted franchise seems a closer and closer match to the original series. The performances by Karl Urban and Zachary Quinto as McCoy and Spock are espec... [Star Trek] [actors] [bones] [Capt. Kirk] [Gene Roddenberry] [J. J. Abrams] [James T. Kirk] [Leonard McCoy] [Leonard Nemoy] [reboot] [Spock] [utopia]

July 28, 3AM

The above image comes via a post on Jerry Coyne’s blog, “The Truth About Creationism vs. Evolutionism.” Would it be fair to say that the biggest reasons for the debates about evolution among Christians, and between religious fundamentali... [Bible] [evolution] [Bill Nye] [book] [Books] [cartoon] [comic] [debate] [Ken Ham]

July 27, 12 PM

Matthew Distefano crafted a parody of the Sermon on the Mount, reenvisaged as it might have gone if Donald Trump had delivered it. Click through to read it. There is no need for anyone to say “blessed are the successful” or “blessed are... [Gospel of Matthew] [politics] [beatitudes] [blessed] [Donald Trump] [jesus] [poor] [rich] [sermon on the mount] [success] [successful] [woe]


It is fascinating how much misunderstanding there is about transitional species, in particular among those who criticize science without knowing what they are talking about. If someone you know doesn’t understand this point, please share the above e... [evolution] [young-earth creationism] [Species] [transitional]

July 26, 8AM

IO9 just posted a piece about transhumanism and fear of “tampering with nature” in the form of gene editing, brain chips, and other such technologies. What I found most interesting, not surprisingly, was the information about how more devout r... [religion] [science] [science fiction] [artificial] [blood] [brain] [CAPTCHA] [chip] [chips] [comic] [editing] [gene] [genes] [implant] [implants] [IO9] [Robot] [robots] [statistics] [Technology]


I thought I would turn something I said in a recent post into an image, in case it helps it circulate more widely. I really do think this is an important point! [Bible] [Inerrancy] [Biblical] [biblical literalism] [fundamentalists] [literal] [literalists] [meme] [plain meaning] [quote]

July 25, 2PM

Hemant Mehta shared a link to a MAD Magazine special issue, which included a two-page feature comparing things that Donald Trump has said with things found in the Bible. One could do this with any candidate, pretty much. But in the case of Trump it seems ... [Bible] [politics] [Christians] [comparison] [Donald Trump] [Hemant Mehta] [Infographic] [MAD Magazine] [Quotes] [Values]


I’m in the process of finalizing the reading list for my course on Religion and Science Fiction. I found I could not choose from among the many novel options that I considered for the course. In the past I’ve had one novel and the rest of the... [religion] [science fiction] [Books] [course] [novels] [Short Stories] [sins] [university]


While in Italy, I had a conversation with a scholar from Sicily about the tendency for English-speaking scholars to ignore scholarship in languages such as Italian and Spanish. While I’ve tried to make a point of noticing, reading, and/or buying sc... [Academia] [Italy] [Americans] [Edmondo Lupieri] [English] [Language] [languages] [publications] [reading] [scholars] [scholarship] [Sicily]

July 24, 7AM

It was interesting to have an article come across my feed, providing guidance about whether one should quit one’s job and create video games instead, at the same time that I became aware that Leigh Grossman has a Kickstarter campaign for an RPG app:... [games] [history] [church] [Council of Nicaea] [course] [gaming] [role playing games] [RPG] [students] [university]


John Morehead shared this exciting call for submissions: Call for Submissions for an anthology volume: Fantastic Fan Cultures and the Sacred They ways in which people pursue religion has changed in America and the West. Traditional, institutional religion... [Call for Papers] [fantasy] [science fiction] [Call for Papers] [CFP] [fandom] [fans] [John Morehead] [Sci-fi]

July 23, 7AM

I expect that I will be using Max Stern’s books about Bible and Music and Psalms and Music in connection with my course on the Bible and Music in the Spring. Stern is a composer, and not only is his piece exploring the story of Jacob wrestling with... [Genesis] [music] [angel] [Bible] [Jacob] [Max Stern] [paraphrase] [Wrestling]


Chuck Queen wrote a helpful post recently, sharing his own experience of interacting with someone who insisted the Bible was clear – but didn’t accept its “clear” teaching on certain matters. The quote above is from that post. Cl... [Bible] [Fundamentalism] [Inerrancy] [Biblical] [biblical literalism] [Chuck Queen] [fundamentalists] [inerrantists] [literalists] [meme] [quote]

July 22, 7AM

To me whether there are some errors or not in Scripture is something determined empirically. We cannot dogmatize facts into or out of existence. Bernard Ramm, “The Relation of Science, Factual Statements and the Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy,̶... [Bible] [Inerrancy] [Bernard Ramm]


The first Patheos Book Club that I was invited to participate in, unless I am mistaken, was for the book The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible (Sacred Activism) by Charles Eisenstein. Unfortunately the timing led to a long delay in my bei... [book review] [Charles Eisenstein] [crop circles] [New Age]

July 21, 7AM

Before traveling to Italy for the first time this summer, I sought recommendations about places to visit and even more so places to eat in Rome. The one specific restaurant that a colleague recommended was Il Falchetto. Its location is such that you proba... [Italy] [Il Falchetto] [Lunch] [pasta] [restaurant] [Review] [Rome] [seafood]


July 20, 7AM

I’m going to be sharing photos from my recent travels, and unlike the hasty bulk uploads to Facebook which some of you may have seen, here I will be commenting on and explaining them. Rather than make one post that might take a while to load because... [Italy] [Judaism] [artichoke] [ghetto] [Hospitality] [Jewish] [neighborhood] [Nonna Betta] [restaurant] [Rome] [sacred]


Joel Watts suggested that this might explain the issues related to the endings of the Gospel of Mark: What do you think? [gospel of mark] [humor] [author] [ending] [endings] [trolling]
PZ Myers shared the above image a while back, comparing different ways of viewing the world and our place in it. I’m not sure that they are as incompatible as might be thought. One can recognize that all living things share a history and much else, ... [evolution] [ecology] [ego] [humans] [superiority] [worldview]

July 19, 1PM

Via Christian Nightmares. There is so much great potential for a Star Wars themed VBS-style children’s camp. Good vs. evil as more complicated than simply Jedi vs. Sith. Temptation, power, mystery, rules vs. love. But instead I suspect that it will ... [Christianity] [Star Wars] [camp] [children] [church] [sign] [stormtrooper] [Vacation Bible School] [VBS]


  Pete Enns shared the prayer offered by Rev. Mark Burns at the Republican National Convention, saying that it is not a benediction. Historically, I beg to differ. To the famous set of Jewish prayers known as the Eighteen Benedictions, a nineteenth w... [politics] [benediction] [benedictions] [convention] [Eighteen Benedictions] [GOP] [Mark Burns] [national] [pastor] [Prayer] [republican] [RNC]


Everyone is talking at the moment about the plagiarism of Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech by Melania Trump. Here is the evidence, in case you haven’t seen it: So that's pretty blatant, right? — Mike Hearn (@mi... [gospel of luke] [gospel of mark] [Gospel of Matthew] [politics] [#FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes] [convention] [Melania Trump] [Michelle Obama] [Plagiarism] [RNC] [speech] [Synoptic Gospels] [synoptic problem]


Two stories by Philip K. Dick (“Rautavaara’s Case” and “Faith of our Fathers,” both included in the collection Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick, with an introduction by Jonathan Lethem) explore alien gods and ideas of God. ... [science fiction] [theology] [blood] [devouring] [fear] [flesh] [God] [gods] [HORROR] [Philip K. Dick] [Rautavaara] [sacrament] [savior] [Terror]

July 18, 7AM

Existential Comics recently offered a philosophical variation on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, a program which I used to blog about regularly because of the show’s exploration of religion and my interest in artificial intelligence. Having... [humor] [philosophy] [Terminator] [AI] [artificial intelligence] [cartoon] [Chronicles] [comic] [ethics] [Existential Comics] [simone de beauvoir]


I had someone ask me about the claims made on a blog called Theological Sushi about the parable of the Good Samaritan. Here is an example of what the post claims (click through to read the details): This is an important argument for understanding who the ... [gospel of luke] [ethics] [Good Samaritan] [Levite] [neighbor] [obligation] [parable] [Priest] [robbers] [samaritans] [story] [thieves]


Via Jim Davila, I learned about this fascinating new book series that Edinburgh University Press has launched, which will be a good venue for, among other things, those who work on the Mandaeans. Alternative Histories: Narratives from the Middle East and ... [Academia] [history] [religion] [book] [CFP] [Edinburgh] [Press] [Series] [university]

July 17, 10AM

I really wanted to believe it was satire when a website called GOPocalypse claimed that a Southern Baptist pastor named Robert Jeffress had said the following: You know, I was debating an evangelical professor on NPR and this professor said, ‘Pastor,... [Fundamentalism] [politics] [apocalyptic] [Donald Trump] [ethics] [Interview] [Mike Pence] [pastor] [Robert Jeffress] [sermon on the mount] [Southern Baptist] [turn the other cheek] [visions]


Hemant Mehta shared the image above. I wonder whether the two different bumper stickers, depicting God or Jesus as copilot and airbag respectively, could usefully symbolize two common approaches to religion – that which views the divine as playing a... [humor] [airbag] [copilot] [jesus]

July 16, 7AM

I participated in a fascinating conversation about the Gospel of John as a group of us who had attended the “John the Jew” Enoch Seminar coped with a train strike in Italy. The conversation was about the references in the Gospel of John to bei... [Gospel of John] [politics] [aposynagogos] [authority] [deportation] [Donald Trump] [expulsion] [history] [Muslims] [reality] [Rhetoric] [synagogue] [threat]


July 15, 6PM

Apparently the campus of Butler University is simply teeming with Pokemon. There are four gyms, and Pokemon are even to be found roaming the halls of the buildings. Someone spotted one today right above my head…   [games] [Butler University] [campus] [gym] [Pokemon]


I announced earlier that my blog would be undergoing a rebranding, and said that the name would not surprise anyone. ReligionProf has long been my Twitter handle, my nickname on Reddit, as well as being in use in other places – including Hearthstone... [biblioblogging] [Patheos] [religion] [biblioblog] [biblioblogger] [blog] [James F. McGrath] [prof] [professor] [religion prof] [ReligionProf]


The Matrix movies came out a long time ago – the original film was released in 1999! And so the allusion to them in the title of this blog is seeming increasingly dated. And so I’ve decided that it is probably time to rename this blog –... [biblioblogging] [Patheos] [blog] [blogging] [Change] [Keanu Reeves] [Matrix] [movies] [name] [rumors] [sequels]


A friend posted this as her status update on Facebook, and it seemed to me precisely the sort of thing that might go viral, and so I asked permission to share it. For those who aren't aware, there have been “Pence Must Go” signs up all ov... [politics] [candidate] [Donald Trump] [Facebook] [funny] [GOP] [Mike Pence] [nominee] [Pence Must Go] [republican] [signs] [status] [update] [vice president]


This post is not asking what arguments can be offered by those who advocate believing the Bible. Rather, I am here posing the question where the idea comes from in the first place, that the appropriate thing to do with the Bible is to believe it. When pr... [Bible] [Belief] [believers] [believing] [Bible-believing]

July 14, 11AM

A friend and former colleague posted the meme above, and I found it funny, but also disturbing. “Put down your phone and learn something” could only be said by someone my age or older. It posits a false dichotomy, living as we do in a time whe... [education] [games] [Technology] [game] [gaming] [phone] [Pokemon] [smartphone]
A friend and former colleague posted the meme above, and I found it funny, but also disturbing. “Put down your phone and learn something” could only be said by someone my age or older. It posits a false dichotomy, living as we do in a time whe... [education] [games] [Technology] [game] [gaming] [phone] [Pokemon] [smartphone]


What do you think of this updating of the words of Jesus? As one commenter said on Facebook (on the Catholic Memes page where I came across this), “I choose you, Peter-chu!”   [humor] [memes] [bad puns] [Fishers] [jesus] [meme] [Peter] [Pikachu] [Pokemon]


I’ve been watching Stargate SG-1 from the beginning, and decided not to blog about every episode (the way I still need to finish doing with Doctor Who). But I do plan to write occasional blog posts on interesting religious themes in the show. And o... [Stargate] [ascension] [Daniel Jackson] [God] [gods] [playing God]

July 13, 3PM

This New Yorker cartoon came to my attention via Facebook, and I immediately knew I had to share it, if only to remind myself that, even when one of my memes goes viral (as this one in particular did, and this one in a more modest way just recently), that... [humor] [politics] [cartoon] [comic] [divided] [divisions] [healing] [meme] [memes] [nation] [New Yorker]
This New Yorker cartoon came to my attention via Facebook, and I immediately knew I had to share it, if only to remind myself that, even when one of my memes goes viral (as this one in particular did, and this one in a more modest way just recently), that... [humor] [politics] [cartoon] [comic] [divided] [divisions] [healing] [meme] [memes] [nation] [New Yorker]


When a clickbait title says that there are 30 things I never knew about The Force Awakens, or 9 outrageously awesome Doctor Who facts, I tend to be skeptical, but may well click through nonetheless. It was genuinely new information for me that the foota... [Doctor Who] [history] [Beatles] [Q] [quotation] [quotations] [sources] [Top of the Pops]


HT to Ross McKenzie for this useful analysis of the simplistic saying about giving a man a fish.   [Economics] [Analysis] [fish] [fishing] [Justice] [ownership] [Pollution] [poor] [Poverty] [sustainability]

July 12, 9AM

The World Table commenting system never really caught on here, and so I asked Patheos to switch the default commenting system back to Disqus, where most of the discussion here has continued to take place. I hope this change makes it easier for you to comm... [biblioblogging] [Patheos] [blog] [comments] [default] [discussion] [Disqus] [World Table]


Allan Bevere wrote the following in a recent blog post: No amount of interpretive gymnastics can soften Jesus’ words here in the Sermon on the Mount. Essentially he is saying, if you are going to follow me and love the way I insist you should love, ... [Gospel of Matthew] [politics] [Allan Bevere] [Cross] [jesus]


It is aimed at speakers of German, but I imagine that even if you don’t know German yet (and if not, why not?!), this site focused on teaching the modern spoken Aramaic/Syriac of Eastern Christian communities will still be of interest and useful to... [aramaic] [syriac] [course] [free] [German] [Language] [online]

July 11, 8AM

A couple of days ago I tried to make a point about #AllLivesMatter drawing on the Biblical prophets. Today, a Facebook friend made a similar point in relation to Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Plain in Luke’s Gospel. His point seemed to ... [gospel of luke] [racism] [#AllLivesMatter] [#blacklivesmatter] [beatitudes] [blessed] [jesus] [meme] [poor] [sermon]


On Facebook, Diana Butler Bass shared the following words of pastor Jeremy Rutledge: A black man lay at the side of the road and we looked the other way passed by like a priest with somewhere else to be walked on like a Levite who had an appointment with ... [morality] [racism] [Diana Butler Bass] [Good Samaritan] [indifference] [Jeremy Routledge] [parable] [update]


I thought there were some interesting thoughts in a recent article interviewing Billy Smiley, formerly of the band White Heart and now of The Union of Sinners and Saints: Faith and spirituality can barely survive religion. Imagine how tough it is for art&... [art] [Evangelicals] [music] [artistic] [band] [Billy Smiley] [CCM] [Whiteheart]

July 10, 12 PM

I have had comments on things I have posted on the blog and on Facebook, from commenters whom I don’t know and who’ve never to my knowledge posted on my blog or Facebook wall before. One was addressing the control of knowledge by the 1% to pr... [information literacy] [pseudoscience] [racism] [young-earth creationism] [conspiracies] [conspiracy] [conspiracy theories] [conspiracy theory] [Data] [dogmatism] [Fundamentalism] [fundamentalists] [motivated reasoning] [New World Order] [Race] [racists] [scientists] [statistics]


I came across the above meme, which nicely highlights one of many absurdities that result from viewing Moses as the author of the Pentateuch. [Numbers] [author] [Authorship] [funny] [meme] [Moses] [Numbers] [Pentateuch]

July 9, 7AM

I am grateful to Fortress Press for sending me a gratis review copy of Galilee in the Late Second Temple and Mishnaic Periods, Volume 1: Life, Culture, and Society, edited by David Fiensy and James Strange. But I am perhaps even more grateful to have had ... [Archaeology] [book review] [historical Jesus] [israel] [Judaism] [New Testament] [Galilee] [study abroad] [Travel]


If you haven’t been following the Religion Bulletin series “So You’re Not a Priest? Scholars Explain What They Do to Outsiders,” you should. Here is a quote from the recent post in the series by Justin Henry: [P]erhaps my approach doe... [education] [Paul and his letters] [church] [meme] [Paul] [quote] [think] [thinking]

July 8, 8AM

As I was thinking about the way some respond to #BlackLivesMatter with #AllLivesMatter, it struck me that people could have responded to the prophets in the Bible in the same way. Sure, poor lives matter, Micah and Amos. All lives matter. Stop focusing... [art] [Micah] [racism] [#AllLivesMatter] [#blacklivesmatter] [Bible] [Gustave Doré] [injustice] [Justice] [poor] [prophet] [Prophets]


I happen to live in a neighborhood where most of my neighbors have much darker skin than I do. I wish more of my city were like my street. Demographic maps based on census data show that my city’s neighborhoods, like most, tend not to be diverse. Ev... [morality] [racism] [#blacklivesmatter] [Alton Sterling] [black] [confederate] [flag] [Guns] [Indiana] [Murder] [neighborhood] [neighbors] [Philando Castile] [Police] [Trayvon Martin]


July 7, 1PM

I saw this truck in front of me and had to take a photo. I am disappointed that they missed the opportunity to use Revelation 3:15 as their logo. Revelation 3:15, in case you don’t know it, says “I know your works: you are neither cold nor ... [Baptists] [air conditioning] [Baptist] [cooling] [heating] [Indianapolis] [logo] [Revelation] [sign] [truck]


The above quote comes from Paul Wallace’s great blog post, “Ark Encounter and the death of wonder.” For a survey of the many lies told by young-earth creationists, see the post “Are Noah’s ark and flood literal scientific facts?&... [young-earth creationism] [Ark Encounter] [Ken Ham] [Noah's Ark] [science] [theology] [wonder]


As we lament the grand opening of the Ark Encounter, here are some links to blog posts that I have been meaning to share related to that topic. Hemant Mehta was one of several voices online to point out that the use of modern construction machinery to mak... [young-earth creationism] [Ark Encounter] [epistemology] [Hemant Mehta] [Ken Ham] [kentucky] [Money] [Noah's Ark] [theme park] [unbiblical] [waste]

July 6, 4PM

I am grateful to Morrow for sending me a gratis review copy of Amir Aczel's book Why Science Does Not Disprove God. Aczel's previous work on the history of science and math is well-known. This book is based on interviews with a range of scientis... [book review] [science] [Amir Aczel] [God] [Interviews] [scientists]


David Tennant has been awarded an honorary doctorate. Steven Moffat has been awarded an honorary doctorate, too, and had an interesting guest turn up at the ceremony… [Doctor Who] [Dalek] [David Tennant] [Doctor] [doctorate] [Steven Moffat]


I am grateful to IVP for sending me a gratis review copy of Gerald Rau’s book Mapping the Origins Debate. The book’s subtitle refers to the “Beginning of Everything,” but the book in fact looks at a number of quite distinct beginn... [atheism] [book review] [Christianity] [Evangelicals] [evolution] [intelligent design] [pseudoscience] [science] [young-earth creationism]


That young-earth creationists lie to the general public bothers me. That I once fell for their lies and passed them on to others bothers me a little more. But I feel genuine anger when my students are influenced by their lies. Not a semester passes withou... [Academia] [young-earth creationism] [archaeologist] [credentials] [fake] [Frank Lorey] [Fraud] [historical] [registered] [title] [young-earth creationists]

July 5, 7AM

I am grateful to Fordham Press for sending me a gratis review copy of Christopher Rios’ book After the Monkey Trial. The book in fact begins its historical survey before the famous Scopes trial, and offers a survey of fundamentalist, Evangelical, a... [Evangelicals] [Fundamentalism] [young-earth creationism] [charles darwin] [creationism] [creationists] [evolution] [monkey] [scientists] [Scopes] [Theory] [Trial]


Depending on where you are coming from, you can regard this as highlighting the absurdity of trying to treat the YEC interpretation of the flood story as factual, or as laying the groundwork for another theme park, Ark Encounter II. [young-earth creationism] [Ark Encounter] [brother] [Delbert] [flood] [humor] [Noah's Ark] [plants] [theme park] [Trees]

July 4, 2PM

Via The Daily Kos. Given that it connects Doctor Who and current events, I had to share it. [Doctor Who] [politics] [Brexit] [cartoon] [humor]


Conor Cunningham’s book Darwin’s Pious Idea is an impressive effort, aimed at challenging the shared view among fundamentalists (whether religious or atheist) of what the implications are of Darwin’s theory of evolution. I am grateful to... [book review] [evolution] [Conor Cunningham] [Darwin]


Roger Wolsey shared the cartoon above. In my Sunday school class yesterday, I found myself pondering the question of how faith and patriotism relate to one another.  The matter is not as simple even as my own American Baptist tradition might seem to ma... [Christianity] [politics] [4th of July] [Brexit] [Britain] [cartoon] [celebration] [EU] [Europe] [European Union] [independence] [Independence Day] [Reese's Peanutbutter Cups] [Roger Wolsey]

July 3, 7AM

I am grateful to IVP Academic for sending me a gratis review copy of Kyle Greenwood’s book Scripture and Cosmology. Greenwood’s book is not entirely unlike books that I’ve reviewed before by John Walton, in terms of the ancient data sur... [young-earth creationism] [gospel] [Ken Ham] [Tyler Francke]


Tyler Franke has offered a comical cartoon version of a debate between Ken Ham, Bill Nye, Moses, and Jesus. Below is a sample. Click through for more. [evolution] [Fundamentalism] [humor] [Ark Encounter] [Bill Nye] [cartoon] [comic] [debate] [jesus] [Ken Ham] [Moses] [Tyler Francke]

July 2, 11AM

The above video is one that I took of a street performer at the 2016 Sibiu State Theater Festival. I hope you enjoy it!   [Travel] [circus] [festival] [performance] [rings] [Sibiu] [street]


Ronald Osborn's book Death Before the Fall is one that I put off reading for a while, because its title and subtitle seemed to be narrowly focused on things that I was not as concerned about as I once was. But the volume is not in fact just limited t... [Genesis] [young-earth creationism] [Animals] [Bible] [Biblical] [biblical literalism] [carnivores] [death] [evolution] [Fall] [literalism] [Ronald Osborn] [Seventh-Day Adventists]


Scott Paeth gave me permission to share something he wrote on Facebook: I just had a flash of insight on the whole gun debate: Pro-gun people are absolutely right — in the absence of human beings to abuse them, guns can’t do any harm. Therefor... [humor] [morality] [politics] [arms] [constitution] [gun] [Guns] [right] [Scott Paeth] [second amendment] [Weapons]

July 1, 6PM

Kris Lyle has posted the latest Biblical Studies Carnival. And Phil Long is still looking for a volunteer to host the next one. If you have never hosted a carnival, please consider seizing this opportunity!   [Biblical Studies Carnival] [biblioblogging] [bibliobloggers] [blogging]

12 PM

A moment that many readers of this blog have been waiting for has finally arrived. Patheos has created an ad-free subscription option, called Patheos Insider! Just click on the words Patheos Insider on the top left corner of the blog (or use this link), a... [Patheos] [ads] [Advertising] [blogging] [blogs] [Fee] [insider] [subscription]


Since the Ark Encounter is opening in seven days as a tourist attraction dedicated to the promotion of pseudoscience and the twisting of the Bible, I have decided to offer an alternative seven days of better views of creation scientifically, scripturally,... [young-earth creationism] [Ark Encounter] [Ark Park] [days] [evidence] [flood] [Flood Geology] [geologists] [geology] [Grand Canyon] [Ken Ham] [Noah] [pseudoscience] [science] [seven]


For those who may not get it, the meme above is poking fun at the fact that two apologists on the fringes of academia – Richard Carrier and William Lane Craig – have both attempted to introduce Bayesian reasoning to bring rigor to the subjects... [mythicism] [Bayesian] [Documentary] [historical Jesus] [logic] [meme] [mythicists] [Richard Carrier] [trailer] [william lane craig]

June 30, 7AM


You’ve probably seen versions of the above that make the false claim that the Bible offered science ahead of its time – which no one noticed apparently until after the fact. John Loftus shared the above response, which pokes fun at that attemp... [Bible] [Inerrancy] [dome] [firmament] [John Loftus] [meme] [science] [sphere]

June 29, 1PM

Call For Abstracts: “Frontiers: Cosmos, Curiosity, Creativity” McGill University, Montreal, November 12-13, 2016 Cultures approach religious questions in ways informed by their cosmologies and vice versa. Traditions and concerns considered religious t... [astronomy] [Call for Papers] [science] [Call for Papers] [CFP] [conference] [cosmology] [cosmos] [graduate] [religion] [religious studies] [students]


The Bizarro cartoon poses an interesting question for Catholic vegans and vegetarians who claim to believe in transubstantiation. Is communion an exception to eating no flesh? HT Hemant Mehta [humor] [Roman Catholicism] [communion] [flesh] [literalism] [meat] [Miracle] [transubstantiation] [vegan] [vegetarian] [vegetarianism]


There are a lot of people in our time who can be described as “struggling with homosexuality.” In some cases, it is individuals struggling with their own sexuality. But in far more cases, it seems there are people who are heterosexuals and who... [Baptists] [Fundamentalism] [Inerrancy] [morality] [fundamentalists] [homosexuality] [inerrantists] [principles] [sin]

June 28, 11AM

Jim Davila drew attention to an article in The Times of Israel, highlighting some fascinating details in the new book The Fifty-Year Mission: The First Twenty-Five Years. The part of the article that really grabbed me begins with a quote from Richard C... [Christianity] [Star Trek] [captain] [Gene Roddenberry] [God] [James T. Kirk] [jesus] [religion]


When I say “listen to” I don't necessarily mean that you should find everything he says convincing. I mean literally listen to him, in this recent podcast interview: [Christology] [conference] [Crispin Fletcher-Louis] [Divine Identity] [Enoch Seminar] [Interview] [Monotheism] [podcast]


Feel free to make germane comments about the upcoming grand opening of the Ark Encounter… [humor] [young-earth creationism] [ark] [Ark Encounter] [Noah]

June 27, 2PM

Richard Engel has a fascinating report about the much-needed repairs to the part of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher that is traditionally identified as the tomb of Jesus, and the historic way that this is resulting in collaboration between Christian deno... [Christianity] [israel] [Christ] [church] [Church of the Holy Sepulcher] [cooperation] [denominations] [edicule] [Jerusalem] [jesus] [NBC] [news] [renovation] [repair] [repairs] [tomb]



We live in an age unlike others, when more people outside of China have at least heard of concepts like qi. But it is not a result of greater religious or cultural education. It is a result of Words With Friends. Qi is a concept that one really ought to h... [education] [religion] [App] [china] [Chinese] [definition] [fun] [games] [gamification] [gaming] [learning] [Medicine] [Qi] [Scrabble] [vocabulary] [Words With Friends]

June 26, 2PM

After multiple weeks of travel, I am back home in Indianapolis. But I will continue to blog about the various places I visited, books I read while traveling, conversations I had while conferencing, and much else related to these travels. Other than my fai... [Travel] [blogging] [Conferences] [Indianapolis] [israel] [Italy] [Jordan] [Romania]


I came across this quote from Susan Shaw in an article by Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz about religion and liberal education.   [Fundamentalism] [Progressive Christianity] [faith] [fear] [quote] [Susan M. Shaw]

June 25, 10AM

Commenter Ian offered this statement, which is inspired by something that J. S. Mill wrote: Every reasonable person will admit that some of the things they believe may be false, but nobody knows which things they are (or else they would no longer believe ... [information literacy] [learning] [meme] [mistaken] [quote]

June 24, 3PM

John Baez came up with a “Crackpot Index” for those who think they are geniuses with revolutionary ideas in physics. What do you say we adapt the list for the field of historical Jesus? How do you think the list below – adapted ever so ... [mythicism] [pseudoscience] [crackpot] [crackpots] [Index] [mythicists]

June 23, 3PM


I've shared images of the ancient Israelite view of the universe before. But above is a video that talks you thought it, created and narrated by Mike Heiser.   [Genesis] [ancient] [cosmology] [cosmos] [dome] [Israelite] [Michael Heiser] [video]


This is the final day of the 2016 Enoch Seminar meeting on the Gospel of John and Jewish messianism. It has been as fascinating as each of the preceding days. There were short papers on topics such as John and Philo’s Logos, John and mysticism, and ... [Gospel of John] [Judaism] [Enoch Seminar] [Isaiah] [logos] [Philo] [servant]

June 22, 3PM

I happened recently across the blog Our Daily Fred. There’s a fair amount there that is entertaining on the subject of religion, but the one that brought me there was exploring the alienness of God, bringing the Bible’s use of the term into ... [science fiction] [theology] [alien] [God]


The morning sessions I attended both focused on John 5. We explored fascinating questions such as: whether the argument that an obedient son does what he sees his father doing requires a particular ontological understanding of divine sonship, or works equ... [Gospel of John] [Italy] [bridal] [bride] [bridegroom] [Camaldoli] [chamber] [conference] [hermitage] [John the Baptist] [library] [Manuscripts] [Psalms] [Psalter] [sacrament]

June 21, 12 PM

Today was even more thrilling than yesterday, as we began to move beyond stating the views that we brought with us to the conference, to a deeper interaction that is causing us to think new thoughts.   One example is the discussion we had of whether ... [Gospel of John] [aposynagogos] [expulsion] [Judaism] [kosher] [synagogue] [Torah]


Joel Willits wore a very striking hat yesterday at the Enoch Seminar. Can you read what it says?   [Hebrew] [conference] [hat] [Joel Willits]

June 20, 3PM

Larry Hurtado posted last month on the title “son of God” in Paul’s writings. I thought that it would make sense to schedule a post about it to coincide with the 2016 Enoch Seminar meeting on John’s Christology and Jewish Messian... [Christology] [Gospel of John] [Paul and his letters] [Camaldoli] [emphatic] [Enoch Seminar] [Italy] [Larry Hurtado] [Son of God] [sons of God]


The 2016 Enoch Seminar on Johannine Christology as Jewish messianism has begun, meeting not only the same building but the same room in which the Florentine Platonic Academy was born. I am delighted to have the opportunity to participate in it, and indeed... [Academia] [Christology] [Gospel of John] [Judaism] [1 Enoch] [conference paper] [Enoch] [Enoch Seminar] [Enochic] [Italy] [Jewish Christianity] [messianism] [scholars]


The Israel Antiquities Authority has an interesting piece on their website about ancient games, some of which have survived down to the present day not only in the Middle East but beyond, such as Mancala!   [Archaeology] [games] [gaming] [israel] [mancala] [senet]

June 19, 2AM

A cartoon by Tim Davis. Yet another attempt to make sense of this disturbing story in Genesis, and one especially appropriate for today… [Genesis] [humor] [Abraham] [Akedah] [cartoon] [Father's Day] [Isaac] [Tim "Spike" Davis]

June 18, 11PM

I am in Italy for the first time, and will be heading to Camaldoli today by way of Arezzo to attend the Enoch Seminar on John’s Christology and/as Jewish Messianism. Jim Davila mentioned that the last time he was there the wifi was “primitive,... [Academia] [Christology] [Gospel of John] [history] [Italy] [Judaism] [Monotheism] [arch] [Archaeology] [Constantine] [Rome] [sightseeing] [titus]


To mark the occasion of my first visit to Rome, I thought I would share the above cartoon. It illustrates one of the practical reasons why something like the study of religion might not be as irrelevant for entrepreneurs as is sometimes claimed. In fact, ... [education] [Italy] [music] [religion] [Business] [Butler University] [campus] [diploma] [entrepreneur] [Joyful Noise Recordings] [Karl Hofstetter] [liberal arts] [record label] [Scotty's Dawghouse]

June 17, 4AM

David Brin shared a free short story of his on his blog, “Reality Check” from his book Insistence of Vision. I've been meaning to mention it here for a while. It explores the notion that “deification” might be a “filter&... [science fiction] [David Brin] [Deification] [Gnostic] [Gnosticism] [godlike]

June 16, 5AM

I've had a draft post saved for almost a year, since John Shuck, Gavin Rumney, and David Williams wrote pieces about emergence and God. One possible view of God is that God is the highest level of emergent order of the universe or multiverse. This vi... [Progressive Christianity] [emergence] [emergent] [process] [theism]

June 15, 4AM

Via The Dice Tower, I learned of this archaeology game: It seems to me that either the game as it exists, or a variation on it, could have some pedagogical value. At GenCon last year, I participated in a game demonstration simulating excavation of prehist... [Archaeology] [games] [game] [gaming]

June 14, 3PM

I received this question via e-mail and thought it might be useful to share it publicly together with my answer: I was listening to a YouTube video when this came up. Paul says in 1 Cor 11:23 “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to y... [1 Corinthians] [mythicism] [1 Corinthians 11] [last supper] [Lord's Supper] [mythicists] [Paul] [vision]

June 13, 10PM

I received this question via e-mail and thought it might be useful to share it publicly together with my answer: I was listening to a YouTube video when this came up. Paul says in 1 Cor 11:23 “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to yo... [1 Corinthians] [mythicism] [last supper] [Lord's Supper] [mythicists] [Paul]

June 12, 12 PM

It will take some time to process and share many of the thoughts I had during my recent visit to many places I had been before in Israel and the West Bank, and to places I had never been before especially in Jordan. Among the latter was Wadi Rum, which I ... [movies] [science fiction] [Travel] [Ammon] [bedouin] [Edom] [Jordan] [Martian] [Moab] [nomadic] [nomads] [Patriarchs] [Wadi Rum]


There is a useful comparison that can be made between the cosmological “Big Bang” and the moment of origin of Christianity and the perception that a historical figure named Jesus can be found there. In both cases, there have been individuals w... [historical Jesus] [physics]

June 10, 3PM

I’ve been looking forward to blogging about Crispin Fletcher-Louis’ book Jesus Monotheism: Volume One – Christological Origins: The Emerging Consensus and Beyond. Having finished reading it as I prepared my paper for the Enoch Seminar m... [book review] [Christology] [Monotheism] [Crispin Fletcher-Louis] [Divinity]

June 9, 1PM

I’m due to read and blog about Crystal St. Marie Lewis’ book of “doubter’s devotions” called By The Waters of Babylon. In the meantime, let me share this sample from its contents, which Crystal shared on her blog a while ba... [Progressive Christianity] [church] [Crystal St. Marie Lewis] [doubt]

June 8, 3PM

I saw the above meme on Facebook, and was struck by several aspects of it. First, the treatment of allegiance to sci-fi franchises as comparable to religion caught my attention. And then I started thinking about this “Baptist” approach which e... [Baptists] [Star Trek] [Star Wars] [Baptist] [choice] [franchise] [freedom]

June 7, 3PM

Have you heard about Mike Doughty’s rock opera based on the Book of Revelation? I love this sort of thing. Others have alluded to Revelation (see “Supper’s Ready” by Genesis, for instance), but to my knowledge this is the first co... [music] [Revelation] [Inerrancy] [Mike Doughty] [opera] [Revelation] [rock]

June 6, 3PM

From Cindy Brandt’s post, “The Fight for Unfundamentalist Christianity.” [Progressive Christianity] [Cindy Brandt] [dogmatism] [freedom] [meme]

June 5, 3AM

When sharing a blog post not too long ago, I wrote the following on Facebook: Any god that you have to cling to in order to keep from losing it is by definition an idol. I used literal physical idols in the background to the image above. But I hope it is... [Progressive Christianity] [idolatry] [idols] [theological] [theology]

June 4, 11AM

  I brought along my Bible Odyssey “I Love Josephus” t-shirt on my trip to the Holy Land, thinking it would be perfect to wear to Masada (and of course also to Qumran, as seen in the photo above). I was pleased that several people noticed the... [israel] [Society of Biblical Literature] [Conversation] [Dead Sea] [Essenes] [heart] [Josephus] [Masada] [Qumran] [SBL] [T-shirt] [T-shirts] [temperature]


I learned not long ago about the Penn Libraries Holy Land Collection. Here’s the address, so that you can explore it further: [israel] [archive] [holy land] [Libraries] [library] [Manuscripts] [maps] [online]


Here’s Andre Gagne talking about the Gospel of Thomas on the show Talk Gnosis. Enjoy! [Gnosticism] [Andre Gagne] [Gospel of Thomas] [Interview] [Talk Gnosis]

June 3, 3PM

For some reason, just as I was waking up one morning some weeks ago, I had the mash-up between “Gethsemane” and “seminary” that is the title of this post pop into my head. And then I read a piece in the Chronicle about the educati... [Progressive Christianity] [bad puns] [Challenges] [Garden] [Gethsemane] [israel] [seminary] [struggle] [Study]


I was really struck by the juxtaposition of two signs on the site of the Church of the Beatitudes:   “Blessed are the Peacemakers” is one of the beatitudes. Most of the people who visit the site are Christian pilgrims. Isn’t it jarring ... [Economics] [Gospel of Matthew] [beatitudes] [blessed] [church] [Guns] [injustice] [israel] [peacemaking] [signs] [violence]

June 2, 3PM

From Jacob Wright on Facebook comes this nice piece, imagining what a modern fundamentalist might be expected to say, if Paul said the kinds of things that he said in his time today: “APOSTLE PAUL EXPOSED!” A fundamentalist response to Paul... [Fundamentalism] [Paul and his letters] [Acts 17] [Athens] [fundamentalists] [Mars Hill] [Paul]


Via the NASSCAL blog, this exciting announcement: The North American Society for the Study of Christian Apocryphal Literature (NASSCAL) is pleased to announce Studies in Christian Apocrypha, a book series produced in collaboration with Polebridge Press. ... [Call for Papers] [apocrypha] [Call for Papers] [monograph] [NASSCAL] [Polebridge]

June 1, 3PM

This Bizarro cartoon gets at one of the problems with the idea that Adam and Eve were created instantaneously as adults, or even as grown children. For that to have happened, the things that humans normally learn growing up would have had to have been pre... [Genesis] [Adam] [Bizarro] [children] [comic] [Eve] [evolution] [humor]


Here is a photo of me next to a replica of the Pilate Stone, in the place where the inscription was found, Caesarea. Sites like this are also important for the way they give a different picture of Herod the Great that is crucial for those whose impression... [1 Corinthians] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Gospel of Matthew] [israel] [Caesarea] [Herod the Great] [infancy] [Pontius Pilate]


Here are a couple of interviews about Star Trek that were shared recently by the Sci Phi Journal. Click through for more!   [philosophy] [Star Trek] [academic] [Interviews] [journal] [scholars]

May 31, 12 PM

Almost everyone made it to Israel and one last straggler will be here soon. We visited Joppa before going to our hotel in Tel Aviv. Joppa is known to many from Jonah and Acts in the Bible, and/or from the story of Andromeda in Greek myth.   [Acts of the Apostles] [israel] [Jonah] [Andromeda] [Jaffa] [Joppa] [myth] [mythology] [Tel Aviv]


I often like Non Sequitur comics very much. But this one is simply wrong. There certainly have been individuals who have stood in the way of scientists, motivated by their narrow religious beliefs. But to suggest that that is typical either historically o... [humor] [religion] [science] [Bishop] [cartoon] [church] [comic] [history] [Imam] [Islam] [Non Sequitur] [Priest] [Rabbi] [scientist]

May 30, 3PM

I am departing for a short-term study abroad experience in Israel and the West Bank that I am leading, for students at Butler University and Christian Theological Seminary. There are blog posts scheduled all through the trip and so even if there are probl... [israel] [Travel] [Butler University] [students] [study abroad] [West Bank]


This is one of several great quotes from John Pavlovitz’s recent blog post, “Why this Christian doesn’t need a perfect Bible.” The key reason is that it is idolatry, it attributes to the work of human hands an attribute that belong... [Bible] [Inerrancy] [Progressive Christianity] [idolatry] [inerrant] [John Pavlovitz] [meme] [perfect] [quote]

May 29, 3PM

I was asked to summarize my views on the events from Jesus’ arrest onwards. It was originally going to be a phone conversation but that didn’t work out, and so I thought that if I was going to write about this, I should do it on the blog as we... [historical Jesus] [burial] [Caiaphas] [Church of the Holy Sepulcher] [Crucifixion] [Gethsemane] [Golgotha] [historical] [Jerusalem] [jesus] [Pontius Pilate] [Via Dolorosa]


The Corinthian Matters blog has had a whole series of fascinating posts lately, related to Paul’s correspondence with the church in Corinth. Here’s a link to one such post, involving crowdsourcing, but when you click through, take the time to ... [1 Corinthians] [2 Corinthians] [Corinth] [digital humanities] [epistles] [letters]


If you’ve got more of a problem with the citizenry of this nation pooling their resources together to buy bread than you do with them buying bombs, your priorities are in need of adjustment. – Daniel Skillman (in a post on Facebook) The quote ... [Economics] [Progressive Christianity] [bombs] [Daniel Skillman] [injustice] [Justice] [meme] [Poverty] [quote] [Social] [society] [War]

May 28, 4PM

This spoof product has its own commercial: I’m not sure that anyone who is going on the trip I’m leading to Israel and the West Bank starting on this coming Monday suffers from Islamophobia. But sometimes prejudices and assumptions run deep ... [Islam] [israel] [Islamophobia] [Islamophobin] [prejudice] [stereotypes] [study abroad]


I am grateful to Eerdmans for having sent me a free review copy of the second edition of John J. Collins’ book The Scepter and the Star: Messianism in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Anyone familiar with the first edition will already know that the b... [book review] [Christology] [Judaism] [1 Enoch] [Christian] [Christianity] [Dead Sea Scrolls] [Enoch] [Essenes] [Ezra] [jesus] [Jewish] [John J. Collins] [Messiah] [Messianic] [messianism] [Psalms] [Solomon]


A while back, Morgan Guyton wrote: If I am following the lead of Paul the apostle of grace who championed the Gentiles, then I’m going to read the Bible with a slant to justify whichever outsider the insiders are defining themselves against in order to ... [Progressive Christianity] [exegesis] [Failure] [inclusion] [inclusive] [Morgan Guyton] [Paul] [seminary]

May 27, 8AM

Richard Beck has been blogging about the process of daring to doubt, question, and bring one’s facile assumptions crashing down to the ground. And he is blogging about what happens after that. There are alternatives to merely living amid the rubble.... [Progressive Christianity] [enchantment] [faith] [reenchantment] [Richard Beck] [skepticism]


I am very grateful that Carta Jerusalem sent me several of their atlases to review: In The Master's Steps: The Gospels in the Land, Jerusalem: City of the Great King, and Understanding the Jewish World from Roman to Byzantine Times. I suspect that an... [book review] [israel] [Atlas] [atlases] [Jerusalem] [jesus] [MAP] [maps]

May 26, 7AM

Sarah Bond shared the above flow chart that she made, and I thought I should share it here too, since many will find it entertaining and/or helpful! [Academia] [academic] [conference] [Conference Papers] [flow chart] [Sarah Bond] [title] [titles] [witty]


Several interesting-looking videos of lectures came to my attention and I wanted to share them. First, here’s Amy-Jill Levine on sex, rape, gender, and other related matters in the Bible: Next, here’s Jason Beduhn on the “secret history... [Archaeology] [Bible] [Gnosticism] [Amy-Jill Levine] [Jason BeDuhn] [Lectures]

May 25, 8AM

I think that the Adobe Spark Video app is going to be a perfect tool for students to use on my upcoming trip to Israel and the West Bank, to comment on photos as they go and essentially work on their final project for the trip on the go, as they create pr... [education] [israel] [Travel] [Adobe Spark] [App] [Butler University] [Palestine] [Photos] [study abroad] [Training] [tutorial] [video] [West Bank] [YouTube]


Mark Sandlin shared a prayer and I immediately wanted to pass it on to readers here: Good and gracious God, We love you. But, the you we love is the you we have created. We love discovering that you are much like us – after all we are created in your im... [Progressive Christianity] [idolatry] [idols] [images] [Mark Sandlin] [Prayer] [progressive Christian]

May 24, 11AM

Via Joel Watts on Facebook, I learned of the passing away of Kenneth Bailey. Bailey grew up in the Middle East and then taught New Testament there, and learned a great deal from his students, insights which he shared with others in his writing and speaki... [gospel of luke] [background] [barn] [cultural] [Culture] [infancy] [jesus] [Kenneth Bailey] [Middle East] [obituary] [oral tradition] [parables] [stable]


This meme was drawn to my attention in a comment on an earlier post. It focuses too broadly on atheists in general, and it is simply incorrect about what the coins say. But its main point retains some validity nevertheless. While it may be appropriate to ... [mythicism] [atheism] [atheists] [meme] [mythicists] [Pontius Pilate]

May 23, 10AM

The latest Existential Comics has a very entertaining exploration of what it might be like if Descartes and Spinoza were roommates… [humor] [philosophy] [Baruch Spinoza] [cartoon] [comic] [existential] [Rene Descartes]


Pete Enns shared a quote from James Sanders, which he then paraphrases in this way later in the post: Put the Bible in its place and then you will see its deep religious value. If you treat the Bible as a rulebook dropped out of heaven, you will miss the ... [Bible] [Bibliolatry] [idolatry] [irony] [Pete Enns] [polytheism]

May 22, 3AM

I was asked the following on Facebook, and thought I would share it today: Hey, I have a question from those of us who have to preach on Trinity Sunday. What about the Trinitarian formula in Matthew 28? Original, later addition? Here is my response: I don... [Gospel of Matthew] [formula] [Sunday] [theology] [Trinitarian] [Trinity] [Triune]

May 21, 11AM

Short movies not made by major studios are becoming more and more impressive. What do you think of this? It is particularly interesting now that there is Batman vs. Superman (which I have yet to see). [Star Wars] [Batman] [Darth Vader] [Superman]


In case you haven’t seen the new trailer for Star Trek Beyond. [Star Trek] [beyond] [movie] [trailer]


On Cindy Brandt's Unfundamentalist Parenting blog, there is a great guest post by John Stonecypher describing the challenges that confront those who were brought up to view the Bible as one thing, only to discover it is something else. Loving Star Wa... [Bible] [blog] [Cindy Brandt] [complexity] [parenting] [Star Wars]

May 20, 3AM

Rachel Held Evans wrote on Facebook, and gave me permission to quote it: I confess. Sometimes I need reminding it doesn’t go like this: “Dear friends, let us be right, for being right comes from God. Everyone who is right has been born of God and know... [1 John] [love] [quote] [Rachel Held Evans]

May 19, 10AM

I am grateful to Christian Askeland for drawing attention to this documentary, made by students from right here in Indiana! [Gospel of Judas] [Documentary] [Indiana] [students]


I am delighted to have the privilege of participating in a blog tour about fellow Patheos blogger Morgan Guyton’s book, How Jesus Saves the World from Us: 12 Antidotes to Toxic Christianity. Throughout the history of ancient Israel and of Christiani... [book review] [Progressive Christianity] [blog] [book] [Morgan Guyton] [Review] [tour]

May 18, 9AM

Via the blog Joe My God, I learned about an effort to amend the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, called the “Do No Harm” Act. Here is a quote from the press release: The Do No Harm Act would clarify that no one can seek religious ex... [politics] [religion] [act] [amend] [amendment] [bill] [federal] [freedom] [Law] [legislation] [LGBTQ] [protection] [religious freedom] [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] [RFRA] [rights]


You may think I’m a “silly boy” for writing about this. But when Sarah Bond recently wrote a blog post about the ancient Greek use of a tag (sillybos) to indicate the author and title of a work on a scroll, I felt I needed to blog in a... [Gospel of John] [gospel of luke] [gospel of mark] [Gospel of Matthew] [anonymous] [authors] [Authorship] [Books] [Codex] [codices] [gospels] [Greek] [names] [scroll] [scrolls] [syllabi] [syllabodes] [syllabus] [tag] [Tags] [title] [titles]

May 17, 2AM

I'm looking forward to visiting Caesarea Maritimia again in about two weeks' time with a group of students from Butler University and Christian Theological Seminary. It's one of the early stops on our visit of Israel. For better or worse, w... [Archaeology] [israel] [Antiquities] [Caesarea] [Coins] [IAA] [Shipwreck]

May 16, 11AM

I wanted to share the above anyway, just for laughs. But I think it makes a nice pairing with a point that John Pavlovitz made today, about the fact that America is not undergoing worse moral decline than in the past. Here is an excerpt from his post: Am... [Uncategorized] [america] [Donald Trump] [elizabeth] [end times] [politics] [queen] [slogan] [United States]


Don’t miss the special issue of the Journal of Religion, Media, and Digital Culture focused on ancient Jewish, Christian, and Arabic literature. It includes articles such as Carrie Schroeder’s on “Digital Humanities as Cultural Capital... [Christianity] [Islam] [Judaism] [Arabic] [digital humanities] [issue] [journal] [literature] [open access] [syriac]

May 15, 3AM

Internet Monk shared this wonderful example of the problems with claims about the “plain meaning” of a text. The sign above is from the UK. And so, while an American will understand it to be prohibiting people who serve as coaches of a parti... [Bible] [coaches] [Context] [football] [hermeneutics] [soccer]

May 14, 3AM

Post-doctoral Cataloging Fellowship at HMML   The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML) announces a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in Eastern Christian Manuscript Cataloging beginning as soon as July 1, 2016. The Fellowship is funded by the ... [Arabic] [syriac] [cataloguing] [Garshuni] [HMML] [post-doctoral]

May 13, 2AM

May 12, 4AM

  Hemant Mehta shared the above correction that appeared recently in the New York Times. Any theories about how such an error came about?   [Islam] [news] [correction] [funny] [Imam] [Isis] [Islamic State] [Muslim] [New York Times] [Twitter]

May 11, 3AM

The above video contains a recording of the Butler multifaith baccalaureate service this year. It is worth watching for the great jazz alone, but my colleague Brent Hege also gave an excellent talk, as did graduating senior Jeremy Marshall. Also of inter... [religion] [baccalaureate] [Brent Hege] [Butler University] [Center for Faith and Vocation] [jazz]

May 10, 3AM

Rudy Busto wrote a piece for the Religious Studies Project, comparing what Western authors have often had to say about the Aztecs, with the treatment of them on Doctor Who in the classic episode “The Aztecs.” See my previous blog post about t... [Doctor Who] [Aztecs] [Rudy Busto]

May 9, 3AM

Having organized a service that incorporated music by U2, I was excited to see soon afterwards that Bono was collaborating with Eugene Peterson on a project focused on the Psalms. See recent pieces in the Huffington Post and John Pavlovitz’s blog fo... [music] [Psalms] [Bono] [U2]

May 8, 3AM

Jerry Coyne recently shared this image: To the image itself, one could simply respond with this: But Coyne added enough of a disclaimer to indicate that he recognized there was a problem-  albeit an inadequate and problematic disclaimer that itself con... [religion] [science] [Jerry Coyne] [pics]

May 7, 3AM

May 6, 2AM

This primary has been fascinating, as someone who studies (among other things) the intersection of religion and the public sphere. Several candidates confidently asserted that God told them to run for president. None of them are continuing their campaig... [politics] [Bernie Sanders] [Candidates] [carpenter] [denominations] [Donald Trump] [God] [Hilary Clinton] [Jewish] [Presbyterian] [socialist] [United Methodist]

May 5, 3AM

Ipreviously pointed out that, if atheism means denying the existence of any being that is believed by some humans to be divine, then the existence of cats disproves atheism. Hemant Mehta seems to have seen the light, since he posted the image below unde... [atheism] [humor] [cat] [cats] [Divine] [Egyptians] [funny] [God] [gods] [murals]

May 4, 4PM

One more for Star Wars Day: Indianapolis local Jason Eberl, professor of philosophy at Marian University and well-known to many as an editor of a series of books on philosophy and popular culture, recently appeared on WGN Radio talking about the influe... [philosophy] [Star Wars] [Culture] [Influence] [Jason T. Eberl] [Radio]


The BBC Doctor Who blog is celebrating Star Wars Day with a selection of mash-ups between Star Wars and Doctor Who. Below is one of them. Click through for more! [Doctor Who] [Star Wars] [lightsabers] [mash-up] [mash-ups] [May 4th] [May the Fourth] [Star Wars Day]


For Star Wars Day, here’s Luke Skywalker singing “All By Myself,” courtesy of David Unger Music. [humor] [music] [Star Wars] [All By Myself] [Luke Skywalker] [May the Fourth] [parody] [sings] [video]

May 3, 7AM

My friend Eldad Keynan shared these photos of a carving in the wall of a building in the Golan Heights. Any suggestions as to what it might be or represent? [Archaeology] [bug] [carving] [Eldad Keynan] [Golan Heights] [tomb]


My students were asked to evaluate the sources they used in their papers this semester. More than one has told me that a particular article or book is reliable because it “has purpose.” What on Earth is that supposed to mean?! I am not sure wh... [education] [articles] [Books] [purpose] [students] [Writing]

May 2, 12 PM

Some time ago – back in 2013, and thus so long that I had pretty much forgotten all about it – A. David Lewis and I recorded a podcast for the Religious Studies Project on “Popular Culture, Dr. Who, and Religion.” That podcast ha... [Doctor Who] [religion] [A. David Lewis] [popular culture]


Pictoral Theology posted the image above, and I’m not surprised that Jerry Coyne thought highly of it. But both the creation and the approval indicate a disappointing level of misinformation about Galileo. Galileo was a devout religious person whos... [astronomy] [religion] [science] [Galileo] [Jerry Coyne] [myth] [NOMA] [non-overlapping magisteria] [T-shirt] [War] [warfare]

May 1, 9AM

Jeff Carter (yes, that Jeff Carter) is hosting the latest Biblical Studies Carnival. And it is chock full not only of links to interesting posts, but also fantastic video context. I’ll include a couple of samples below, but click through for much, ... [Biblical Studies Carnival] [biblioblogging] [Biblioblogs] [biblobloggers] [videos]


A colleague told me that a student had mistakenly written about Jesus’ “sermon on the plane” in an assignment. I immediately thought that it ought to be turned into an image. If you like it, share it! [humor] [jesus] [mistake] [plain] [Plane] [sermon] [spelling] [students]

April 30, 2PM

This video apparently comes from the wedding of two Star Wars fans. Hope you enjoy it! Should it be called an Organa Voluntary? [music] [Star Wars] [organ] [theme] [voluntary] [wedding]


  Several more illustrations of the fact that the Bible is not children’s literature, that it isn’t cute and sweet. The above come from artist Tom LaMothe, via a post on Rachel Held Evans’ blog from several years ago. The artist... [art] [Bible] [David] [Jael] [John the Baptist] [Precious Moments] [Salome] [Sisera]

April 29, 3AM

Having pushed students to wrestle with historical methods and their application to Jesus this semester, and the fact that those methods don’t allow them to demonstrate the miracles of Jesus and other things they wish they could, I allowed the last ... [atheism] [historical Jesus] [atheist] [class] [David Hayward] [T-shirt]

April 28, 3AM

The first two days of this week, I was selected for jury service. This was my first time selected. I wished I could have recorded some of the ways that the lawyers explained the criteria of evidence during the voir dire, explaining that “beyond reas... [historical Jesus] [beyond reasonable doubt] [court] [Crime] [criminal] [historians] [Indiana] [jury duty] [methods] [Trial]

April 27, 4AM

Sometimes science does indeed offer a clear answer to a supposedly insoluble problem…   [evolution] [chicken] [egg] [explanation] [problem] [puzzle]

April 26, 3AM

A nice bit of end-of-semester Bible humor, courtesy of Pictoral Theology. I imagine that whether you envisage Jesus as responding by saying “Yes” or “Study for life, not just the test,” says a lot about both your theology and your ... [education] [Gospel of Matthew] [humor] [cartoon] [comic] [disciples] [exam] [jesus] [semester] [sermon] [test]

April 25, 3AM

The service yesterday, featuring rock music, went well, I thought. It was recorded, and so I thought I would share it for those who may be interested, in particular those who wished they could have been there but were unable to. My notes and an outline o... [music] [Animals] [Crooked Creek Baptist Church] [Johann Sebastian Bach] [Kansas] [Peter Gabriel] [progressive rock] [rock] [Styx] [U2]

April 24, 3AM

Via The Ancient World Online, I was reminded about the Jerusalem Virtual Library, which includes a wide array of historic photos, maps, illustrations, documents, and other materials related to Jerusalem. I hope you enjoy exploring it and find it to be a ... [israel] [Archaeology] [Jerusalem] [library] [Photos] [virtual] [website]

April 23, 3AM

This PHD Comic is really brilliant. That you should not address a professor as “Yo” is not something that is ever on a formal test. It is thus the kind of thing that is missed by the student who thinks that the point of education is to study ... [education] [comic] [exam] [humor] [PhD] [professor] [test]

April 22, 2AM

HT Marc Cortez. It is funny, but it also makes me think about my own career path. I teach on subjects that I find fascinating. And so I am always reading on the subjects I teach on, even “for pleasure,” and conversely, I always turn things I... [humor]

April 21, 11AM

The Ultimate Star Trek and Philosophy: The Search for Socrates is now available in print. It includes my chapter, “A God Needs Compassion, but Not a Starship: Star Trek’s Humanist Theology.” [Star Trek] [theology] [chapter] [Gene Roddenberry] [humanism] [Humanist] [Jason Eberl] [philosophy] [Socrates]


An article in Real Clear Science highlighted that consensus-building is part of the scientific method. Alex Bezerow writes:I like to imagine the scientific method as resembling the solar system. The planets, traveling in perfect orbits, represent the pil... [Academia] [science] [consensus] [education] [Theory]

April 20, 2AM

If you move in the circles of organized atheism, it is much as if you move in the circles of conservative Christianity: you can get the impression that certain ideas are getting lots of attention, when they are only being given attention by your group whi... [atheism] [mythicism]

April 19, 3AM

From PHD Comics. I think this is almost certainly true in large classrooms like that depicted. In smaller classrooms it still has the tendency to be this way, but not always. Perhaps students have figured out that, in a smaller non-tiered classroom, the p... [education] [humor] [academic] [classroom] [comic] [PhD] [students]

April 18, 7AM

I’m not sure what to call the service that we’ve put together for next Sunday at Crooked Creek Baptist Church. But the service will feature a lot of music that we’ve never performed in church before, as well as several songs that we have... [music] [Progressive Christianity] [church] [Crooked Creek Baptist Church] [House of the Rising Sun] [J. S. Bach] [Kansas] [Peter Gabriel] [rock] [Styx] [U2]


I thought I would make a meme from a question I asked someone in a theological conversation: how do we assess the relative adequacy of language used to refer to God, when all human language is inadequate? [theology] [Language] [Mysticism]

April 17, 2AM

I’m not sure why it never struck me before, but I just recently realized that Paul’s mention in Philippians about his being or having been a Pharisee ought to get more attention. Paul assumes that the Philippians know what a Pharisee is. Perh... [Judaism] [Paul and his letters] [Philippians] [Paul] [pharisee] [Pharisees]

April 16, 3AM

A quote from Pete Enns’ blog post about Jesus’ lack of faith. Click through to read the rest of it. On this theme see further his recent book, The Sin of Certainty. [Progressive Christianity] [certainty] [doubt] [faith] [jesus] [Peter Enns]

April 15, 3AM

A recent New York Times piece referred to God as a question rather than an answer, and so it seemed appropriate to reshare the above image, which is based on things I said on this blog back in 2009 and more recently in 2013.Of related interest, see Pete ... [theology]

April 14, 10AM

Dustin Smith has shared his account of the debate that took place yesterday between Craig Evans and Richard Carrier. Click through to read it. [mythicism] [blog] [Craig Evans] [debate] [Dustin Smith] [historical] [historicity] [jesus] [myth] [Richard Carrier]


Two versions of the flyer for this event, in PDF form, can be found online. It looks like it will be an interesting event. Grace Unlimited has done some really wonderful things at Butler, and so this upcoming event about Christian diversity should be fant... [Progressive Christianity] [Butler University] [Christianity] [Grace Unlimited] [Liberal] [plural] [pluralism] [progressive]


I spoke to a member of the Midwest regional Society of Biblical Literature recently, who told me that there had been a number of members who were angry about a petition that went around asking the organization to move its conference from Olivet Nazarene U... [Fundamentalism] [Society of Biblical Literature] [conference] [Midwest] [SBL]

April 13, 3AM

My favorite typo in a book about the Bible (noticed in an advance draft, and so it presumably won’t make it into the published version) is now a reference to a “lager biblical theme.” It should have said “larger biblical theme.&#... [Bible] [humor] [beer] [Biblical] [lager]

April 12, 3AM

I recently had the opportunity to read an advance copy of Daniel Kirk’s forthcoming book, which he blogged about recently. The book is called A Man Attested by God: The Human Jesus of the Synoptic Gospels. I cannot emphasize enough what an import... [Christology] [Greek] [Allan Bevere] [Bill Mounce] [Christ] [God] [grammar] [jesus]

April 11, 8AM

Click here to view the embedded video.Above is a video with just the piece MYOverture, composed by Alex McGrath for the 20th anniversary of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra.Below are two more videos from yesterday’s concert: Cathy Morris’ &#... [music] [anniversary] [Cathy Morris] [concert] [Duke Ellington] [electric] [Hilbert Circle Theater] [Indianapolis] [Metropolitan Youth Orchestra] [overturen] [strings] [violin]


Historians should not entertain the possibility that Jesus predicted in advance exactly how he was going to die, foreseeing that it would be by crucifixion. And so too historians cannot view Jesus as having called his followers to take up their crosses be... [Gospel of Matthew] [Cross] [crosses] [Crucifixion] [discipleship] [historians] [jesus] [prediction] [wooden] [yoke]

April 10, 6PM

Click here to view the embedded video.Today at Hilbert Circle Theater in downtown Indianapolis, a concert was held celebrating the 20th year of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra. Mayor Joe Hogsett was in attendance, and the CEO of the Indianapolis Symphony... [music] [anniversary] [Betty Perry] [concert] [Hilbert Circle Theater] [Indianapolis] [Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra] [ISO] [jam] [jazz] [Joe Hogsett] [mayor] [Metropolitan Youth Orchestra] [MYO]


It has been interesting to revisit the death of Jesus in my historical Jesus class this year. I’ve passed through phases of naive credulity and extreme skepticism with respect to the Gospels and other early Christian sources, and am now trying to fi... [Philippians 2:6-11] [Cross] [Crucifixion] [death] [Easter] [experience] [historians] [obedience] [prediction] [Religious Experience] [skeptical] [skepticism]

April 9, 5AM

Part two of my discussion of mythicism on the show Talk Gnosis is now available – in podcast form for anyone, and as a video for subscribers. Click this link and go have a listen or watch!  [Gnosticism] [historical Jesus] [mythicism] [Christ] [Conversation] [discussion] [Interview] [podcast] [subscription] [Talk Gnosis] [video]


Pliny the In Between has illustrated what most mythicists seem unable to grasp. Accepting the existence of a historical Jesus is not about accepting a miracle working human, much less a deity.But in another sense, mythicism is much worse than mainstream h... [humor] [mythicism] [comic] [Divinity] [historical Jesus] [historicity]

April 8, 2AM

Reading student papers this past week, it seems to me that students are in universal or near universal agreement about at least one thing: that no two people hold the same view.I cannot help but laugh at the irony of this state of affairs – that st... [education]

April 7, 9AM

Click here to view the embedded video.As SF Signal and IO9 have pointed out, there is a trailer for the next Star Wars movie, which is not Episode VIII, but Rogue One, set in the rebellion era before Episode IV. It looks great. But let me point out, for t... [Star Wars] [Death Star] [Mon Mothma] [official] [prequel] [prequels] [rebellion] [teaser] [trailer] [video] [YouTube]


Existential Comics has once again depicted philosophers playing Dungeons and Dragons. It was the dragon’s quip about the gods he’s met that made me decide it was worth sharing here…   [humor] [philosophy] [cartoon] [comic] [comics] [D&D] [Dragon] [Dungeons & Dragons] [Dungeons and Dragons] [existential] [gods] [philosophers]

April 6, 3AM

April 5, 2PM

Click here to view the embedded video.I’ve appeared on the online show Talk Gnosis before, speaking about the Mandaeans. In this week’s episode, they talked with me about the historical figure of Jesus and mythicism. I hope you enjoy watching ... [mythicism] [discussion] [evidence] [Gnosis] [historical Jesus] [Interview] [mythicists] [talk] [Talk Gnosis]


My colleague at Butler, Chad Bauman, recently wrote a piece for Religion Dispatches, on the perception he has encountered among Hindus in India that “Americans hate Muslims, too.” Here’s a sample:Still today, when I travel in India, Hind... [Islam] [Chad Bauman] [Hindus] [India] [Muslims] [persecution]


The Times of Israel has an article about the volume I contributed to, Touching the Face of the Cosmos. The article focuses on the chapter by Rabbi Barry Schwartz. The contribution by the president of his shul, Lance Strate, also gets a mention. Click thr... [Judaism] [astronaut] [Jewish] [president] [Rabbi] [religion] [shul] [spaceflight]

April 4, 9AM

I didn’t manage to blog these on April 1st, but they are still worth sharing. Eisenbrauns has a long history of advertising spoof products on their website on April 1st. This year they continued that delightful tradition with the following: Ei... [humor] [April Fools Day] [Eisenbrauns]


ArtsFest is an exciting time at Butler University. In April, we essentially have a marathon of artistic events, many of which are marathon-like in their own right. We’ll have performances of works by Eric Satie and John Cage which will more-or-less ... [physics] [religion] [2016] [ArtsFets] [Brian Murphy] [Butler University] [relativity] [space] [Time]

April 3, 5PM

I’m always surprised at how much rancor is directed toward “creationists”—those who deny that evolution, whether on the macro or micro level, is the best explanation for the diversity of life on our planet. I’m also surprised at how certain m... [evolution] [mythicism] [historical] [historicity] [Jerry Coyne] [jesus] [pseudoscholarship]


After the pastor of my church resigned, my Sunday school class discussed what the role of a pastor is. I highlighted that the term comes from “shepherd” and that it is (apart from Ephesians 4:11) not used as a title for a Christian leadershi... [Christianity] [Ephesians] [pastor] [sheep] [Shepherd]

April 2, 1PM

“If Donald Trump was a scientist” was created by Matt Crawford and shared on Facebook. Hope you enjoyed it! [humor] [politics] [science] [Donald Trump] [research] [satire] [scientist]


Samantha Field coined this very apt phrase for fundamentalism’s view of the Bible in a recent blog post. Here is an excerpt:To biblical docetists, cultural contexts don’t have to have any bearing on the text– it’s not really an ancient library... [Evangelicals] [Fundamentalism] [Inerrancy] [fundamentalists] [quote] [Samantha Field]

April 1, 8PM

DISNEY just issued a press release earlier today, to publicize a product that should appeal to both Star Wars fans and people of faith. The STAR WARS NEW TESTAMENT, which is subtitled the NEW YODA VERSION, will feature a creative adaptation of Jesus’... [Bible] [Star Wars] [translation] [Yoda]


In news that would be surprising if it were about any other “archaeologist” than Simcha Jacobovici, it has just been revealed that Jacobovici has unveiled yet another historic find – he has also uncovered the original Jesus fish, also m... [Archaeology] [humor] [Crucifixion] [fish] [jesus] [Jesus fish] [married] [nails] [rings] [satire] [simcha jacobovici] [wedding]


NT Wrong has returned to blogging to offer the latest Biblical Studies Carnival. Click through to read it.Some years ago I dedicated a series of blog posts to the question of the true identity of the elusive pseudonymous biblioblogger NT Wrong. Eight yea... [Biblical Studies Carnival] [biblioblogging] [Biblioblogs] [blogging] [blogs] [NT Wrong]


One of the world’s leading archaeologists announced today that the wedding rings of Jesus and Mary Magdalene have been unearthed during renovations to an ancient church in France. The identity of the artifacts has been confirmed on the basis of the ... [Uncategorized]


Star Wars fans will probably already have heard the news that J. J. Abrams has been authorized by Disney to make revisions to the classic Star Wars films, beginning with the prequels, which have been a subject of controversy ever since their release. Amon... [Star Wars] [April Fools] [BB-8] [edition] [J. J. Abrams] [Jar Jar Binks] [special]


As I was looking for images that could serve as prototypes or inspiration for the cover design for my forthcoming book, Theology and Science Fiction, I discovered a book title that was proposed but not used by another author. Tony Kriz shared on his blog ... [Bible] [science fiction] [aliens] [foreigners] [religion] [Sci-fi] [theology] [Tony Kriz]

March 31, 6AM

Can mythicism kill an academic career? Making a reasoned case as a scholar for that viewpoint won’t. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m asking about the way the behavior – the insults and illogic that characteriz... [mythicism] [academic] [arguments] [book review] [career] [education] [mythicist] [mythicists] [professor] [publications] [Raphael Lataster] [Richard Carrier] [think]


Ever since I came across the McSweeney’s piece “A Generic College Paper,” I have wondered whether showing it to students and talking about it would not help them.It starts, like so many truly awful student papers, with “Since the ... [education] [humor] [College] [generic] [paper] [university]

March 30, 2PM


It has been too long since my last post about the classic Doctor Who series. I finished my rewatch a while back and so just need to finish off blogging the Fourth Doctor era, having completed the first three as well as from the Fifth Doctor onwards, due... [Doctor Who] [capitalism] [economy] [exploitation] [Finance] [Pluto] [satire] [sun] [workers]

March 29, 5PM

Flat-Earthers have been getting more attention lately, for reasons that I cannot quite fathom.But I will not complain, and here’s why: Jonathan Robinson found a wonderful application for an analogy with those who insist that the Earth is flat. Ev... [Christianity] [Islam] [pseudoscience] [Christians] [flat earth] [God] [Muslims] [same] [theology]


Via Facebook I found out about an interesting upcoming lecture by Rabbi David Sandmel, the Director of Interfaith Affairs for the Anti-Defamation League. The title is “Can Christians Learn from Jews about the New Testament?” It will be held... [Judaism] [New Testament] [Christian Theological Seminar] [Christians] [CTS] [Jews] [Lecture]


Conspiracy theories, a recent article emphasizes, are not harmless self-delusions:In an important sense every conspiracy theory comes at some moral cost. To offer a conspiracy theory is to make an accusation. The accusation may be amorphous (‘shadow... [morality] [conspiracies] [conspiracy] [conspiracy theories] [conspiracy theory] [ethics] [trust]

March 28, 3AM

There was an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education recently about the disproportionate number of engineers among the ranks of terrorists. This is not a new observation – articles on this subject, I learned, have appeared over the years, in... [Fundamentalism] [young-earth creationism] [engineering] [Engineers] [terrorism] [terrorists] [young-earth creationists]

March 27, 2PM

Click here to view the embedded video.After I shared my last Sunday school class session about ideas of the afterlife in the Jewish Scripture/Christian Old Testament, several people expressed the desire that I record the next session, in which we’... [afterlife] [Baptists] [Crooked Creek Baptist Church] [Easter] [eternal life] [immortality] [Indianapolis] [resurrection] [Sunday School]


Bob Royalty shared on Facebook this set of new lyrics he wrote for a well-known Easter hymn, with words that reflect the profound divisions between the Eastern and Western churches over the date of Easter:Jesus Christ is risen today! A-a-a-a-a-le-e-u-u-ia... [humor] [music] [2016] [calendar] [Catholic] [date] [Easter] [Eastern] [Orthodox] [Pascha] [protestant]


I should probably have looked into this question more than I have up until this point. What is the meaning of the riddle in Mark 12, in which Jesus asks how the Messiah can be David’s son, when he is called David’s lord in Psalm 110? The quest... [Christology] [gospel of mark] [Psalms] [Acts] [David] [Enthronement] [exaltation] [heaven] [jesus] [LORD] [Peter] [Psalm 110] [resurrection] [sermon] [Synoptic Gospels]

March 26, 3PM

Hemant Mehta pointed out the above Easter display, set up in the Wisconsin Capitol Building as a form of protest over the other religious displays. It is clearly based on the flyer that I shared here previously. The fact that it relates to religion and St... [atheism] [Star Wars] [Easter] [Jediism] [Obi-Wan Kenobi]


Three cartoons on this theme by Tim “Spike” Davis. One of the things that Christians think about during this season is Jesus' teaching about loving our enemies, and how he put it into practice to the last. Can I not forgive my Facebook fr... [humor] [betrayal] [cartoon] [cartoons] [denial] [Easter] [Facebook] [forgiveness] [Friends] [funny] [jesus] [last supper] [sunglasses] [Tim "Spike" Davis]


I had an e-mail from a reader of the blog a while back, and it has taken me much longer than I had hoped to begin answering the questions that I was asked. Here is one of them, which seems timely:[W]hile I understand that you are sceptical of the prospect... [afterlife] [Progressive Christianity] [hope] [resurrection]

March 25, 11AM

This cartoon by Kevin Frank came to my attention via Facebook. It brings together Easter and quantum science. There is a sense in which the thought experiment is an interesting one. Would you look inside the tomb and see either that Jesus’ body is s... [humor] [cartoon] [comic] [Easter] [jesus] [resurrection] [Schroedinger] [science fiction] [theology]


Click here to view the embedded video.The above discussion of theology and ethics in Star Wars at Conway Hall includes Biblical scholar Francesca Stavrakopoulou. It uses LEGO Star Wars images, discusses orientalism and radicalization in the films, and in... [morality] [Star Wars] [theology] [Darth Vader] [Emperor] [ethics] [evil] [Francesca Stavrakopoulou] [good] [Kylo Ren] [movies] [radicalization] [terrorism] [terrorists]


I really like this cartoon about hymns by Dave Walker. It mirrors my own experience in other non-Anglican church contexts as well, although the cardboard numbers are not an issue in other traditions. I’ve enjoyed introducing the congregation not o... [Anglican] [humor] [music] [cartoon] [church] [Dave Walker] [hymns]

March 24, 5PM

I spent quite a while simply believing the Gospels. And I have spent quite a while being as skeptical of them as I think is reasonable.Now I am at the point where I recognize the pitfalls at either extreme, and seek to be open to what the evidence suggest... [historical Jesus] [Belief] [Christ] [Christ-centered] [disciples] [Garden] [Gethsemane] [historians] [historical] [historicity] [holy week] [jesus] [last supper] [Lord's Supper] [Messiah] [mythicists] [skepticism] [sword]


Click here to view the embedded video.HT to Deane Galbraith for drawing attention to this lecture by Annette Yoshiko Reed. As the title indicates, it explores the impact of the Bible from ancient times to modern. But it also spends a significant amount of... [Bible] [anime] [Annette Yoshiko Reed] [apocrypha] [canon] [canonicity] [Lecture] [scripture] [scriptures]


I’ve been asked about the original source of the image above, illustrating how people in the Ancient Near East viewed the cosmos. It is an image that I shared on my blog in the past. Do any blog readers know what the original source of the image it?... [art] [Genesis] [Abyss] [Babylonian] [Bible] [cosmology] [earth] [flat] [heaven] [illustration] [pillars] [sky] [Windows]

March 23, 7PM

I am grateful to have the opportunity to participate in a blog tour about Jean-Pierre Isbouts’ latest book, Ten Prayers That Changed the World. The book takes the fascinating approach of choosing individuals, and key historical moments connected ... [book review] [history] [Abraham] [Akedah] [Bible] [Constantine] [Gandhi] [Isaac] [Jean-Pierre Isbouts] [jesus] [Mother Teresa] [Prayer] [prayers] [St. Francis]


“The real test of our faith is not how well we love those who are most like us, but how well we love those who are least like us.”Ben Irwin, “ISIS, Genocide, and the Real Test of Whom We Love”The quote is so important that I made t... [Progressive Christianity] [Ben Irwin] [Justice] [love] [meme] [quote]

March 22, 3AM

Yesterday I had the chance to meet face to face with Tim “Spike” Davis, whose cartoons I’ve often shared on this blog as well as on other social media. I took the opportunity to get a photo together:We chatted about all kinds of things,... [Christianity] [Butler University] [cartoon] [cartoonist] [Crucifixion] [democracy] [politics] [Roman] [soldiers] [Tim "Spike" Davis] [voting]

March 21, 6AM

Click here to view the embedded video.I’ve mentioned my Sunday school class at Crooked Creek Baptist Church on this blog on numerous occasions. But now I have a chance to invite you to sit in on a session, at least virtually. A couple that usually... [afterlife] [Bible] [development] [resurrection]


From a collection of church sign fails. Is quoting Darth Vader on a church sign the equivalent of quoting Satan (or one of Job’s friends) on a verse-of-the-day calendar?  [Star Wars] [church] [church sign] [Church Signs] [Darth Vader] [faith] [quote]

March 20, 12 PM

I had a commenter on the blog make the ridiculous claim that, since there is reference in the Jewish Scriptures to the riding of a donkey, we can therefore have no basis on which to conclude that such a thing actually happened in the life of Jesus.I would... [historical Jesus]


This sign was given as an example of a church sign fail, but I’m not sure that this Palm Sunday paraphrase is actually a failure. It gets your attention, makes someone who doesn’t know the Bible wonder if Jesus ever said something like this, ... [historical Jesus] [ass] [church sign] [Church Signs] [donkey] [humor] [Palm Sunday]

March 19, 3AM

The quote comes from Douglas Cowan’s excellent book Sacred Space, which I reviewed on the blog back in 2012. [science fiction] [Stargate] [Culture] [Douglas Cowan] [fiction] [myth] [mythology] [theology]

March 18, 2AM

See also Ted Herrlich's post specifically on the Discovery Institute's climate change denial.  [pseudoscience] [bingo] [denial] [denialism] [denier] [science]

March 17, 6AM

Having been blogging about safety and study abroad lately, I was interested to see a study by the Forum on Education Abroad which shows from insurance claim data that students are twice as likely to die on campus in the United States than while studyin... [israel] [Travel] [campus] [mortality] [Safety] [statistics] [students] [study abroad]


In addition to the irony that an atheist meme used an image of the library of an institution with religious roots and affiliation, which houses among other things the Book of Kells, to try to pole fun at Christians as purportedly readers of only one book,... [atheism] [Books] [Christians] [College] [Dublin] [irony] [library] [meme] [memes] [Trinity]

March 16, 10AM

I’ve been developing a course on the Bible and music, and so was delighted to see a review of a book on the topic appear in Review of Biblical Literature. The book is Bible & Music: Influences of the Old Testament on Western Music, by Max Stern... [Bible] [music] [author] [book] [composer] [course] [Max Stern]


As I was thinking about the way Americans can misperceive danger elsewhere in the world compare to where they live, I was reminded of something amusing that happened the last time I was in Israel and the West Bank with students. One of the students had no... [israel] [Travel] [air fresheners] [Arabs] [cars] [misunderstanding] [students] [study abroad] [West Bank]


The quote in the image above is from a conversation I had recently on Facebook. Since this point still needs to be made over and over again, I thought that turning it into a meme might help address the issue yet again. [Genesis] [Adam] [Eve] [Genesis 1-3] [Genre] [serpent] [Snake]

March 15, 9AM

People have sometimes complained when I have referred to young-earth creationists as liars. Hopefully the tweet above from Ken Ham will settle the matter, at least for those who have seen the TV series Cosmos. [young-earth creationism] [cosmos] [Ken Ham] [Liar] [lies] [tweet] [Twitter] [young-earth creationists]


Click here to view the embedded video.The above video about the philosophical and moral questions involved in using the transporter on Star Trek. These are precisely the kinds of issues that I discuss in my forthcoming book Theology and Science Fiction.... [philosophy] [Star Trek] [copy] [science fiction] [theology] [transporter]


March 14, 8AM

I probably should not vent about my students’ parents on my blog, but I am feeling a bit frustrated. The stabbing of an American student in Israel is certainly a cause for concern. Like any parent would, I have imagined my own son traveling abroad ... [israel] [Travel] [danger] [fear] [homicide] [Intafada] [Murder] [odds] [Parents] [stabbed] [stabbing] [statistics] [student] [students] [study abroad] [terrorism] [West Bank]


What would be in your pie chart? Mmmm, pie could definitely help the creative process. Here is a link to a recipe for the absolutely best apple pie I have ever tasted. [humor] [Apple] [Creative] [Creativity] [pie] [pie chart] [process] [recipe]

March 13, 12 PM

Everyone is talking about Neil de Grasse Tyson’s problematic tweets – see the recent blog posts by Jerry Coyne, Hemant Mehta, and P. Z. Myers.But I think the most important post on the topic is that by Jonathan Bernier. He points out that, onc... [history] [mythicism] [pseudoscience] [science] [denialism] [evolution] [Jonathan Bernier] [mythicists] [quote] [Sex] [tweet] [Twitter]


“The genre of SF, it seems to me, has the capacity to permit everyone, irrespective of their educational background, access to debates, discussions and speculations about some of the biggest questions that concern the human race.”– Mike Alsford,... [science fiction] [discussion] [education] [future] [Genre] [meme] [Philosophical] [philosophy] [quote] [religious] [Sci-fi] [speculation] [theological]

March 12, 6AM

Yesterday I attended the funeral of my friend Steve Webb. Steve was one of the first people I met in Indianapolis who didn’t teach at Butler University. He taught at Wabash College for a long time, and then more recently at CTS. The funeral included... [theology] [Funeral] [Keith Emerson] [keyboard] [Steve Webb] [theologian]


Ken Perrott shared the above cartoon by Isabella Bannerman. That led me to discover more of her comics.I also especially liked this one:It got me thinking about the ways that blogging, and phones which might well be used for blogging, can succeed in makin... [biblioblogging] [blogging] [cartoon] [comic] [texting]

March 11, 6PM

Click here to view the embedded video.The video above is the recording of today’s chat that myself and several other Patheos bloggers had with director Cyrus Nowrasteh about his new movie The Young Messiah. If you missed the live chat earlier today,... [movies] [Anne Rice] [Cyrus Nowrasteh] [director] [extracanonical] [family] [film] [gospel] [grandparents] [infancy] [jesus] [movie] [Parents] [thomas]


Matthew Morgenstern made me laugh when he shared the above image, with the caption, “I told them: NEVER use Comic Sans on a tombstone!”  [humor] [Egypt] [font] [insription] [tomb] [tombstone]

March 10, 9AM

Patheos will be hosting a live chat about the new movie The Young Messiah tomorrow afternoon. You can register and participate here: may not be able to stay for the whole thing, but I... [movies] [Patheos] [chat] [Messiah] [movie] [young]


Samantha Field has written an excellent post about the fundamentalist way of thinking. Far from being irrational, Field suggests, the fundamentalist might be called hyper-rational. There is a desire for absolute consistency and clarity, which is precisel... [Fundamentalism] [absolutes] [dichotomy] [modernism] [modernist] [nuance] [Samantha Field] [truth]


The quote comes from a blog post on the Book of Esther. It is one of the most meme-worthy quotes that I’ve come across, and so here it is in that form, in the hope that it will circulate widely. [Esther] [inspirational] [Allan Bevere] [courage] [coward] [fear] [meme] [quote]

March 9, 7AM

I had a wonderful conversation recently, which lasted for hours and only ended because of concern about severe weather. It was with Matt Kovacs and Arick Mittler, formerly of Miami Valley Skeptics, now working on another project. We talked about a number ... [historical Jesus] [burial] [crucified] [Crucifixion] [Josephus] [Romans]


March 8, 10AM

I am grateful to have had the opportunity (as part of the Patheos Movie Club) to see an advance viewing of The Young Messiah, a movie based on the novel by Anne Rice, the original title of which was Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt. The story begins with tex... [movies] [Anne Rice] [jesus] [Messiah] [movie] [Review] [young]


Hemant Mehta shared this cartoon from The Atheist Pig:On the one hand, if the point of the cartoon is that one cannot prove a historical point simply by appealing to the Bible as authoritative scripture, then of course that is true.But appealing to Pau... [historical Jesus] [mythicism] [atheist] [cartoon] [comic] [Hemant Mehta] [historical] [jesus] [mythicists] [pig]

March 7, 7AM

It seems that Craig Evans and Richard Carrier will be having a debate about whether Jesus existed. I’m glad to see that it is co-sponsored by two organizations, one Christian and one non-religious or anti-religions, although there is a sense in whic... [mythicism] [Craig Evans] [debate] [Kansas] [Richard Carrier]


Here is a larger excerpt from the online article that the above quote comes from:The demonization of the Other is dangerous first and foremost for us. It endangers our humanity; it instills us with fear of the unknown. After all, they are different from u... [israel] [politics] [Arabs] [conflict] [demonization] [humanity] [Jews] [meme] [quote] [War]

March 6, 2PM

I decided to take a drive with my son yesterday to two places that we had never been to. I had heard about the phenomenon of a “gravity hill” as a kid, probably via to the show Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. I found out some months ago tha... [Doctor Who] [car] [gravity] [hill] [Indiana] [North America] [optical illusion] [scarf] [sweater] [TARDIS] [uphill] [WhoNA]


March 5, 8AM

Larry Hurtado blogged about a new article by independent scholar Enrico Tuccinardi, which argues that stylometric analysis can be used to identify interpolations into the letter in which Pliny mentions Christians. This is, as Hurtado points out, a proble... [mythicism] [Enrico Tuccinardi] [Larry Hurtado] [mythicist] [Nazareth] [Rene Salm]


The quote in the image above is just one small excerpt from a post by John Pavlovitz which explores the reasons why Christians often feel like they should not change their mind, and then when they feel they must, fear what those around them will think. It... [Christianity] [authenticity] [changing one's mind] [Conservative] [faith] [John Pavlovitz] [meme] [quote]

March 4, 4PM

Max Lee shared on his blog that there will be a review panel at SBL in November, focused on a book to which I’ve contributed a chapter: Exploring Intertextuality, forthcoming from Cascade. The session will focus on a subset of the chapters, with th... [book review] [New Testament] [Society of Biblical Literature] [B. J. Oropeza] [Intertextuality] [Max Lee] [SBL]


On Wednesday I had the chance to attend a talk at IUPUI by Ken Stein of Emory University. Although the talk was billed as focusing on how to respond to the BDS (Boycotts, Divestments, and Sanctions) movement on campuses, Stein in fact spent most of his... [israel] [Arab] [BDS] [Emory University] [Ken Stein] [negotiations] [Palestinians] [peace]


Rachel Held Evans wrote in a recent blog post:It’s easy to comfort ourselves with the thought that Christians of the past were only using religion and Scripture to support their oppression, but in truth those Christians rarely saw it that way. Often ... [Christianity] [Christians] [hindsight] [injustice] [Rachel Held Evans] [slavery]

March 3, 11AM

Y’all have probably heard of the Bible app and website YouVersion. Well now John Dyer, a PhD candidate at the University of Durham, has made Y’all Version, which is not just for fun, but makes the important point that in the underlying langu... [Bible] [Person] [plural] [second] [translation] [y'all] [youse] [YouVersion]


Click here to view the embedded video.It was several years ago that I highlighted Animusic on this blog, animations of complex machines performing the accompanying music. In the video above, Wintergatan has created an actual marble machine that performs m... [music] [Animusic] [machine] [marble] [Wintergatan]


Today my class on the Bible focused on stories from among the Writings, the third major section of the Hebrew Bible, including Chronicles. I was struck that the ending of Chronicles provides important evidence for the multiple authorship of the Book of I... [Chronicles] [Isaiah] [Authorship] [Cyrus] [Deutero-Isaiah] [Exile] [multiple] [Prophecy]


From Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. It provides a nice illustration of how we sometimes accept an argument from a premise that we take for granted, without realizing that the premise itself is problematic and deserves examination.  [humor] [Theodicy] [argument] [Batman] [comic] [problem of evil] [Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal] [SMBC]

March 2, 7AM

Mythicism has done a pretty good job of spreading the idea that all the information Paul and others had about Jesus was gleaned from visions.That claim doesn’t fit the evidence.We certainly do have evidence that the genre of the apocalyptic vision ... [2 Corinthians] [mythicism] [Paul and his letters] [Revelation] [dreams] [Mysticism] [Paul] [Revelation]


The above cartoon appeared in a 3quarksdaily post that is part 1 of a series called “Becoming Moses.” I thought it was interesting because it raises important questions about the concept of God. Ideas about gods seem to clearly emerge out of ... [Exodus] [Burning Bush] [cartoon] [magic] [Miracles] [Moses]

March 1, 7AM

I’m not sure if there are new posts or reposts of older material. But James Tabor has been revisiting a lot of topics related to the James Ossuary and the Talpiot Tomb on his blog. One post tried to provide a comprehensive overview of the evidence a... [Archaeology] [james] [Analysis] [chemistry] [evidence] [james tabor] [ossuary] [Patina] [science] [talpiot] [Talpiot tomb]


February 29, 4PM

I received this notice from Who North America today:FINALLY!  It is with great pleasure that we announce our soft opening of the new store on Tuesday, March 1, 2016!!!Our new location is at:8901 S. State Road 67Camby, IN 46113Our telephone number and ema... [Doctor Who] [america] [distributor] [Indianapolis] [location] [merchandise] [North America] [WhoNA]


Just a reminder that the deadline to submit paper proposals for the AAR and SBL Annual Meeting in San Antonio in November is tomorrow. Visit the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature websites for more details. Do note as well t... [American Academy of Religion] [Call for Papers] [Society of Biblical Literature] [#aarsbl16] [AAR] [Annual Meeting] [CFP] [deadline] [SBL]


Click here to view the embedded video.I assume that anyone who continues to read my blog regularly probably shares my enjoyment of and interest in science fiction, religion, and humor. And so if you haven’t seen it already, you will want to watch t... [humor] [Roman Catholicism] [Star Wars] [awakens] [Force] [movie] [Review] [Stephen Colbert] [Vatican]

12 PM

Click to enlarge so as to be able to read it better. Were you aware of all of these? Which seem like the most important ones to highlight? Any others that you can think of that should have been included? [philosophy] [biases] [cognitive] [Infographic]


Doing more research is admirable, when that is one’s overall approach to a topic. But when you find that you don’t need to do further research before insulting whole ethic groups and religious bodies, but supposedly do need to do further re... [morality] [politics] [Donald Trump] [ethnic] [hate] [KKK] [Mexicans] [Murder] [Muslims] [religious] [terrorism]


I just received my author’s copy of the book Touching the Face of the Cosmos: On the Intersection of Space Travel and Religion from Fordham University Press. The e-book has been available for a while, but this means that the print edition will be s... [astronomy] [religion] [David Brin] [Interview] [John Glenn] [spaceflight]


Click here to view the embedded video.Via The Lighter Side of the Force. I am pretty sure I’ve seen another attempt at adding lightsabers to this famous fight scene from The Princess Bride, but this version is particularly well done.For some delight... [Star Wars] [duel] [lightsabers] [Princess Bride] [Swords] [The Princess Bride]


I recently received a question in a comment on an older post about mythicism, and thought I would share my answer in a post, since I doubt that many people are still following the post in question, which is from three years ago.Mythicists often emphasize ... [mythicism] [celestial] [Cross] [crucified] [David] [epistles] [heaven] [jesus] [mythicists] [Paul] [seed]


“The Bible is not a book of answers, but a library of questions.” – Timothy BealI am grateful to John Anderson for drawing my attention to the above quote, in a post that explores the trouble when the Bible becomes too familiar to us. Here’... [Bible] [John Anderson] [quote] [Timothy Beal]

February 28, 7PM

I have felt connected to very important events in recent years, as well as more closely in touch with Islam in North America, thanks to the presence of the Islamic Society of North America's headquarters in nearby Plainfield. Students from Butler reg... [Islam] [Butler University] [Crime] [graffiti] [hate] [hate speech] [Indiana] [Islamic] [Islamic Society of North America] [ISNA] [Plainfield] [students] [Vandalism]


I Googled the phrase “Make the Galaxy Great Again” to see if there was anything creative that had been done since the Darth Trump video that made the rounds back in December. I expected to find more combinations of Donald Trump and Darth Vader... [humor] [politics] [Star Wars] [Darth Trump] [Darth Vader] [Donald Trump] [galaxy] [Jabba the Hut] [Jabba the Trump] [political]


Internet apologists for mythicism are always ready to point to Sherlock Holmes and Batman and say “look, here we have stories, so these prove the existence of fictional detectives and comic book heroes, don’t they?”Can they not see that ... [historical Jesus] [history] [mythicism] [Batman] [comparison] [Hercules] [historians] [jesus] [mythicists] [Robin Hood] [Sherlock Holmes] [William Tell]


“People of faith can read the Bible so that almost any perspective on a current issue will find some support in the Bible. That rich and multivoiced offering in the Bible is what makes appeals to it so tempting – and yet so tricky and hazardou... [Bible] [quote] [Walter Bruggemann]

February 27, 8PM


I have heard once again the ridiculous claim that there is “no evidence for a historical Jesus.” Once again, I must point out that young-earth creationists say the same thing, “there is no evidence for evolution.” In both cases, ei... [evolution] [historical Jesus] [mythicism] [evidence] [historicity] [history] [jesus] [myth]


Click here to view the embedded video.A lot of people have been sharing the image of robot trials undertaken at Boston Dynamics, often mashed up with scenes of Sarah Connor from Terminator. While what we’re witnessing are tests to see how robots c... [morality] [science] [science fiction] [Technology] [Terminator] [artificial intelligence] [robots]

February 26, 10AM

This image came to my attention via Facebook. I’ve shared lots of Star Trek Q Synoptic Problem memes in the past, some of which I made myself and some of which I found. Now it is time for some James Bond Q Synoptic Problem memes. Have you come acros... [gospel of luke] [Gospel of Matthew] [humor] [funny] [gospels] [grenade] [James Bond] [meme] [pen] [Q] [synoptic problem]


I really enjoyed watching the three-episode SyFy miniseries Childhood’s End, based on the novel by Arthur C. Clarke of the same title. It is theologically, emotionally, and ethically rich material that explores ideas about God and mortality in a se... [science fiction] [aliens] [Arthur C. Clarke] [Childhood's End] [children] [Devil] [God] [miniseries] [novel] [overlords] [overmind] [Satan] [Syfy] [Television] [theology] [TV]


Do you recognize the original hymn this is based on, “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus”?I take my coffee without sugar, but I can still sing of the sweetness – metaphorically speaking – of drinking it. [humor] [music] [coffee] [Hymn]

February 25, 9AM

The discussion of Mark’s Christology continues throughout the biblioblogosphere. I’m still planning to blog my way through Mark’s Christology, but others are doing a wonderful job, and so when I finally do that, I will have lots to inte... [biblioblogging] [Christology] [gospel of mark] [jesus]


February 24, 8AM

In exploring the Naxos music database’s new releases, I discovered Geoffrey Burgon’s Requiem. Burgon is known for TV soundtracks (including Doctor Who) and film score work, such as on Monty Python’s The Life of Brian. I read the confer... [Doctor Who] [music] [composer] [film score] [Geoffrey Burgon] [Life of Brian] [Monty Python] [requiem] [sacred] [soundtrack]


Having recently mentioned academics playing role playing games, I had my attention drawn to Dungeons and Discourse. It has academic humor, religious humor, and RPG humor. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!You might also enjoy Advanced Dungeons and Disc... [games] [academics] [apologist] [Characters] [comic] [D&D] [humor]

February 23, 11AM

Last night’s episode of The X-Files was the finale of the current mini-series, yet it ended on a cliffhanger which left us with the hope that there will be more. The episode left me feeling as though I was finally getting a sense of the big picture ... [X-Files] [aliens] [anthrax] [anti-vaccination] [Chris Carter] [cigarette] [conspiracies] [conspiracy] [conspiracy theories] [Conspiracy theorists] [Dana Scully] [fear] [Fox] [Fox Mulder] [Fox News] [government] [illness] [man] [MMR] [mumps] [smoking] [vaccine] [vaccines] [X Files]


The online devotional reflection by John Edgerton that the above quote is taken also includes the statement that provides the title of this post: “I believe Bible study is the best medicine for fundamentalism.” Click through to read it. ... [Fundamentalism] [Progressive Christianity] [Devotional] [Medicine] [United Church of Christ]

February 22, 11AM

Click here to view the embedded video. Matthew Ferguson drew my attention to this discussion he had with Craig Evans about the date of the Gospels. Here’s the description from YouTube:This radio debate between New Testament scholar Dr. Craig Evans o... [gospel of luke] [gospel of mark] [Gospel of Matthew] [Craig Evans] [date] [Dating] [debate] [discussion] [gospels] [Interview] [Matt Kovacs] [Matthew Ferguson] [Miami Valley Skeptics] [podcast]


I found myself reflecting recently on the ways we count “attendance” in relation to church congregations. Why do we focus on Sunday morning worship services, and not how many come to the community breakfast, or other things. And indeed, what i... [Christianity] [attendance] [church] [classroom] [Community] [congregation] [Decline] [education] [Facebook] [flipped] [flipping] [Sermons] [service] [Technology]


Yesterday's Bizarro comic highlighted the absurdity of the Noah's ark story when taken literally. One has to either have the Earth so completely changed and reshaped that it would involve a greater cataclysm than anything the Bible explicitly st... [Genesis] [humor] [Bible] [Bizarro] [cartoon] [comic] [fundamentalists] [literalism] [literally] [Noah] [Noah's Ark] [young-earth creationists]

February 21, 3AM

The quote comes from “The Liberty of Man, Woman, and Child.” It can be found in The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll. For more about Ingesoll, see Bruce Gerencser’s recent post.  [morality] [doctrine] [equality] [quote] [rights] [Robert G. Ingersoll]

February 20, 7AM


The quote comes from a post by R. L. Stollar, focused on the question of whether it is possible to debate a fundamentalist productively, but also what leads fundamentalists to want to engage in those unproductive debates in the first place. Here’s t... [Fundamentalism] [debate] [Debates] [fundamentalists] [ideology] [meme] [quote] [Ryan L. Stollar]

February 19, 2PM

The American Academy of Religion’s Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity program unit, and the Society of Biblical Literature Aramaic program unit and Religious World in Late Antiquity Section, are co-sponsoring a session on the Aramaic and Mandaic m... [American Academy of Religion] [aramaic] [Call for Papers] [Mandaic] [Society of Biblical Literature] [AAR] [Annual Meeting] [Bowls] [Call for Papers] [CFP] [conference] [incantation bowls] [Jewish] [Jews] [late antiquity] [magic] [magical] [Mandaeans] [Mandaeism] [San Antonio] [SBL]


My Sunday school class, at the request of one participant, recently ended up discussing first heaven and then hell. I started us off by noting that, while “heaven” (in the sense of the sky) is there from the very first verse of the Bible, the ... [afterlife] [gehenna] [hades] [hell] [sheol] [Sunday School]

February 18, 2PM

I had a hard time even figuring out what to call this post. My friend and colleague Brent Hege gave a wonderful lunchtime talk today about religious freedom, during which he mentioned the difficulties that face attempts to define religion, and the ways i... [politics] [religion] [atheists] [constitution] [definition] [freedom] [Law] [protestant] [Reformation] [secular] [separation of church and state]


Click here to view the embedded video.This work was my first introduction to the work of this British composer who has sacred choral works among his compositions. I borrowed the CD from the public library when I lived in Durham in the UK. Nowadays, people... [music] [British] [Edmund Rubbra] [sacred] [Symphony] [YouTube]


“It is a sign of maturity when we stop trying to make everyone into clones of ourselves (whether they be our students, children, or employees) and begin to appreciate them for who they are. We are invariably rewarded when we make the effort to encou... [inspirational] [Bob Cargill] [Josephus] [maturity] [quote] [Steve Mason]

February 17, 4AM

I hate the false antithesis that many online debaters try to impose in discussions about the Bible – either it is the inerrant words of God or it is garbage. I hate to think how they applied that viewpoint to their parents’ fallible but useful... [Bible] [Inerrancy] [Dan Wilkinson] [false antithesis] [quote]

February 16, 10AM

No need to justify discussing this episode of the X-Files in relation to religion – the episode begins with a Muslim man at prayer. The same man goes to pick up another Arabic-speaking friend, and then they go to an art gallery called Ziggurat, whe... [Fundamentalism] [Islam] [X-Files] [Arabic] [babel] [Babylon] [Bible] [bombing] [Dana Scully] [Einstein] [Fox Mulder] [Islamic] [terrorism] [terrorists] [tower] [X Files] [ziggurat]


The New York Times had an article recently on the spike in “hate searches” after events such as terrorist attacks. The term “hate search” refers to things typed into search engines which express hatred towards an entire category of... [Islam] [Technology] [Google] [hatred] [internet] [jesus]


February 15, 12 PM

Click here to view the embedded video.I’ve been listening to Nicolai Myaskovsky’s symphonic works today as I write. There is a lot of beauty and grandeur throughout, but the second movement of his Symphony No.18 in C Major, op.42, particularl... [music] [composer] [Nicolai Myaskovsky] [orchestral] [romantic] [Russian] [Symphony]


Click here to view the embedded video.The above video featuring Rev. Leonard J. Vander Zee offers a very interesting retelling of the Biblical, scientific, and theological stories woven together into a single narrative that has poetry and beauty. In an er... [Genesis] [science] [Biologos] [Creation] [Leonard J. Vander Zee] [poetic] [retelling] [story]


The Bible could not be clearer. No one should be doing something just because it is in the Bible!  [Bible] [clear] [inclusive] [perspicuity]

February 14, 8AM

Brian Le Port decided to take a look and see what the Apostolic Fathers have to say about John the Baptist. He discovered that it is next to nothing. That is very interesting, don’t you think? Any thoughts on why that might be the case?I have an id... [Mandaeans] [apostolic] [Brian LePort] [church fathers] [John the Baptist]


The above cartoon from Tom the Dancing Bug has been making the rounds. I thought it was worth sharing anyway for Evolution Sunday, as it pokes fun at the person who does not work in science but sits at home posting their confident “insights” o... [pseudoscience] [atoms] [cartoon] [comic] [Evolution Sunday] [jesus] [solar systems] [spaceships]

February 13, 7PM

Richard Carrier is clearly scraping the bottom of the apologetics barrel once again. In his most recent post, he starts off by insisting that I am badly wrong – for making a point that he himself agrees with, but which I made in words that he decide... [mythicism] [celestial] [heavenly] [inscriptions] [jesus] [mythicists] [Philo] [pseudohistory] [pseudoscholarship] [Richard Carrier] [space] [young-earth creationism] [young-earth creationist] [young-earth creationists]


The first review of Touching the Face of the Cosmos: On the Intersection of Space Travel and Religion has appeared, written by Robert A. Lee for National Space Society Review. Here is an excerpt:Readers who wish to explore the implications of space trav... [astronomy] [book review] [science fiction] [cosmos] [exploration] [Jerusalem] [New] [Paul Levinson] [religion] [Review] [space] [spaceflight] [story]


Click here to view the embedded video.Deane Galbraith shared the above video of the recent debate between Bart Ehrman and Michael Bird about Christology in the New Testament.I’m still planning to blog my way through the Christology of Mark’s G... [Christology] [gospel of mark] [Bart D. Ehrman] [Bart Ehrman] [blogging] [Christological] [debate] [Divinity] [God] [jesus] [Michael Bird] [Mike Bird] [New Testament]


The movie Jupiter Ascending by the Wachowski siblings was released on DVDa while back, and unfortunately I have allowed a long time to pass before getting around to blogging about it. It took me a little while, when I saw The Theory of Everything, to r... [science fiction] [DNA] [genes] [immortality] [Jupiter Ascending] [Spirituality] [Wachowskis]


“It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats. Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became... [Judaism] [Abraham Heschel] [quote] [religion]

February 12, 3PM

Click here to view the embedded video.Another interesting archaeology video, this one courtesy of Israel Today. The temple mount is not a place where archaeological digs can legally take place. But there has been a project to sift through the dirt moved ... [Archaeology] [israel] [archaeological] [Excavation] [mount] [project] [sifting] [temple] [treasures] [video]


Click here to view the embedded video.Happy Darwin Day! Thank you to Biologos for sharing the above video on the evidence for evolution.And don’t forget to celebrate Evolution Weekend in your religious community! If you need some inspiration, click ... [evolution] [charles darwin] [Darwin Day] [Evolution Sunday] [Evolution Weekend]


Click here to view the embedded video.Thanks to the Khan Academy for making the above video, and George Athas for sharing it. This is a recreation of what Rome looked like in the era of Constantine. I hope you enjoy your virtual visit to the ancient worl... [Archaeology] [history] [Academy] [Constantine] [Khan] [model] [recreation] [Roman] [Rome] [video] [virtual] [YouTube]


For those who may have forgotten, a reminder that this coming Sunday is Valentine’s Day. Here are some Song of Solomon Valentines for you to share with your loved ones. [Song of Songs] [humor] [romance] [Song of Solomon] [Valentine's Day] [Valentines]



The above cartoon by David Hayward got me thinking about how theology is like a drug.Some drugs alter your state of mind. Some are designed primarily to do that. Others do that as a side effect, and it is worth tolerating that because of some other benefi... [theology] [cartoon] [David Hayward] [drug] [drugs] [ideology] [Medicine] [religion] [side effects] [theologians] [worldview] [worldviews]

February 11, 9AM

Today’s Bizarro cartoon takes a look at how we depict important figures. What do you think about this topic when considered in a more serious way? How has the openness of Buddhists and Christians to depicting the key figures in their traditions impa... [buddhism] [Christianity] [humor] [Islam] [art] [Bizarro] [blond] [Buddha] [comic] [depiction] [fat] [image] [images] [jesus] [Muhammad] [white]


NASA must have a significant announcement to make in the press conference they will be holding later this morning. As a Facebook friend pointed out, this is probably the first time that they have ever taken the step of replacing the Astronomy Picture of t... [astronomy] [physics] [Albert Einstein] [APOD] [Astronomy Picture of the Day] [conference] [drum roll] [gravitational waves] [gravity] [NASA] [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] [news] [picture] [placeholder] [Press] [press release]


“Christianity has always been diverse, and has long been plagued by a tendency toward reciprocal condemnation and exclusion of others who have different opinions than our own, as we have proved time and again to be unable to apply the demand of Jesu... [Progressive Christianity] [Christianity] [Christians] [Diversity] [enemies] [foreword] [love]

February 10, 9AM

The episode focuses in an effort to relocate the homeless in downtown Philadelphia to an abandoned hospital in Bucks County. Mulder accuses the two conflicting sides, saying they really speak for themselves. He asks who speaks for the homeless.While inves... [X-Files] [art] [Dana Scully] [Fox Mulder] [homeless] [injustice] [Justice] [marginalized] [painting] [Philadelphia] [Sculpture] [trash] [William]


David Hayward shared the above cartoon, which makes the point that people with the same sacred texts apply them in very different ways. And so it can be argued that what people do with a sacred text is much more interest and telling than what the text it... [Bible] [cartoon] [David Hayward] [Genocide] [love] [scripture] [scriptures]


One of my first posts on this blog, after it moved from its original self-hosted location to Blogger back in 2007, was on this topic. Here is what I wrote:This is just a short entry, just to share a further illustration of how the Bible is mythologized,... [Bible] [Fundamentalism] [Batman] [blogging] [Inerrancy] [meme] [Robin] [says]

February 9, 7AM

Fred Clark recently posted on the connection between the Left Behind series and Right Wing conspiracy theories. The two overlap extensively, with the non-religious leaving out the Rapture, but overlap in many other particulars, such as that the United Na... [Fundamentalism] [Antichrist] [Barack Obama] [conspiracy theories] [Fred Clark] [Left Behind] [Michele Bachmann]


The image and quote come from Oné R. Pagán’s blog BaldScientist. The quote really is a great one. There is no approach to reality that bypasses mystery. Whether one posits that the ultimate first cause is a divine mind that simply exists, or a la... [science]

February 8, 12 PM

I’m not sure how many of my blog readers took my advice and went to see the musical Amazing Grace after I blogged about it back in 2014. It subsequently made it to Broadway, and at that point several other Patheos bloggers mentioned it.Now its run i... [music] [Amazing Grace] [Broadway] [CD] [musical] [soundtrack]



This came to my attention via the Facebook page Science Meets Faith, and I thought it worth sharing here.“I am a Christian and recognize that the evidence for evolution is overwhelming. It is a discovery, much like Copernicus’ theory of helioc... [Christianity] [evolution] [young-earth creationism] [antievolutionism] [Creation] [creationism] [Lars Cade] [science] [stumbling block]

February 7, 4PM

Click here to view the embedded video.A provocative video by Michael Dowd. Don’t just fast forward to the commandments, as interesting and as important as they are. The introduction is also full of great insights and memorable quotes. [religion] [science] [ecology] [extinction] [Michael Dowd] [nature] [Ten Commandments]


I found myself reflecting recently on the language used in Star Wars of the “will of the Force.” If the Force were anything like a theistic personal God, of the sort that it is natural to view as having a will, then the provision of power to t... [Star Wars] [Force]


I don't always agree with N. T. Wright, but on this he seems to me to be spot on. There have been lots of debates about whether there are “other ways of knowing” besides the sciences. For me, the arts are clues that we do other things wit... [music] [arts] [N. T. Wright] [quote] [reality]

February 6, 4AM

There was an interesting convergence around the topic of ancient people allegedly using computers this week. Of course, the example that the Daily Mail highlighted is old news to most of us, the modern eye seeing what is presumably a wax tablet in an anci... [Archaeology] [art] [history] [Technology] [ancient] [computers] [Eisenbrauns] [Greek] [Inscription] [laptop] [logo] [motherboard] [time travel]

February 5, 7PM

I am delighted to have the opportunity to participate in the Patheos Book Club about Brant Pitre’s recent book, The Case for Jesus: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for Christ. Pitre’s book touches on a number of points that have been men... [book review] [Christology] [New Testament] [authors] [Authorship] [Bart Ehrman] [Brant Pitre] [C. S. Lewis] [eyewitnesses] [gospels] [James D. G. Dunn] [jesus] [trilemma]


I made a mock-up of a shirt that says “Sarcasm is my Spiritual Gift,” and learned that I wasn’t the first to think that such a shirt ought to exist. And in response to my blog post, the person who had previously sold the shirts via Teesp... [humor] [gift] [sarcasm] [Spiritual] [Spiritual gifts] [T-shirt] [T-shirts]


I really liked yesterday’s Speed Bump cartoon, which may just be poking fun at the fallibility of human memory, and our penchant to forget names, even when we should remember them.But I wonder whether it reflects an awareness of the tendency of p... [Bible] [humor] [cartoon] [comic] [Divine] [God] [name] [Speed Bump] [Yahweh] [Yhwh]


The image came to my attention via John Byron on Facebook. What is “biblical violence” in this context? How is it different from other kinds of violence? Or is it violence of “biblical proportions”?  [Bible] [movies] [Biblical] [movie] [risen] [violence]


Discussing 1 Corinthians 15 in my Sunday school class a while back, I was struck by another way of understanding what Paul is saying in v17. Many have treated it as though Paul is saying that it is essential for salvation to believe in the resurrection. B... [1 Corinthians] [1 Corinthians 15] [Belief] [faith] [Paul] [resurrection] [salvation]

February 4, 11AM

Mike Kok, who has been blogging about the Gospel of Mark for a long time, now has a new blog. The change has been made both to offer a more accessible title in English, but also to indicate a broadening of scope. Mike writes: “I will write on topic... [biblioblogging] [apostles] [biblioblog] [blog] [blogging] [blogs] [gospels] [jesus] [Memoirs] [Mike Kok]


As a result of the discussions among bloggers, I thought it would be interesting to try to blog my way through the Christology of the Gospel of Mark. What do you think – does that sound like a good idea?At any rate, before turning to that, there has... [Christology] [gospel of mark]


The title of this post comes from something that a church member said in a discussion of spiritual gifts in Sunday school a while back.I think it would make a great t-shirt.While acknowledging that the phrase “spiritual gifts” adds things not ... [Progressive Christianity] [Crooked Creek Baptist Church] [sarcasm] [Spiritual gifts] [Sunday School]

February 3, 1PM

Click here to view the embedded video.Jimmy Kimmel got a man dressed like Jesus to read actual quotes from candidates in this year’s presidential primary elections. I think it makes a useful point to those who think they are supporting candidates ... [humor] [politics] [Candidates] [jesus] [Jimmy Kimmel] [politicians] [presidential] [Quotes]


Click here to view the embedded video.I had the above video of a roundtable discussion of “Jewish Christianity and the Origins of Islam” drawn to my attention. It took place at last year’s ASMEA conference. Apparently the topic will be ... [Academia] [Call for Papers] [Christianity] [Islam] [Judaism] [Call for Papers] [CFP] [Christians] [discussion] [Jewish] [Muslims] [scholars]


It is common for theists to speak of God’s artistry in creation. But that image sits awkwardly with a number of purported beliefs of classical theism. Artistry involves challenge and accomplishment, but an omnipotent God cannot overcome obstacles ... [art] [theology] [Anthropomorphism] [artist] [artistry] [attributes] [Beauty] [Creation] [Creator] [God] [omnipotence] [Philosophical] [philosophy]


This paraphrase of Jeremiah 14:14 is striking. I’m often in two minds about The Message. What do you think of its rendering of this particular text? [Jeremiah] [Bible] [message] [paraphrase] [preachers] [translation]

February 2, 10AM

Click here to view the embedded video.The video above is from the latest in this year’s Religion Seminar public lecture series, co-sponsored by Butler University, Christian Theological Seminary, and the Desmond Tutu Center. It features Elizabeth S... [religion] [Butler University] [center] [Christian Theological Seminar] [Desmond Tutu] [Lecture] [Race] [seminar]


This was a great episode, of the satirical and self-parodying sort that the X-Files regularly offered throughout its history.Early in the episode, Mulder reflects on how much of the unexplained has been explained since he previously worked on the X-Files,... [X-Files] [Bible] [Biblical] [Dana Scully] [Fox Mulder] [Genesis] [monster] [Monsters] [myth] [Psychology] [satire] [unexplained] [were-lizard] [X Files]


I love this. I hope that the experience of students is that, early on, we problematize simplistic ideas of good vs. evil, but also that by the end of their studies, we have helped them identify the genuine evils that are much more pernicious and pervasi... [education] [humor] [evil] [good] [Sociology] [Superman]

February 1, 5AM

January 31, 1PM

For those who live in an area where disclaimer labels are added to science textbooks, you might find a way to protest by asking that some of the additional stickers below be added to a variety of textbooks, including but not at all limited to those dealin... [evolution] [humor] [intelligent design] [pseudoscience] [science] [young-earth creationism] [disclaimer] [disclaimers] [Georgia] [parody] [stickers] [Texas] [textbook] [Textbooks]


It never ceases to amaze me, when I talk to Jesus mythicists online, how eagerly they embrace and defend Christian orthodoxy. They do not accept that Christian orthodoxy is true, of course. But they accept that it gets the facts right – an odd sta... [mythicism] [brother] [Catholic] [God] [james] [jesus] [mary] [mythicists] [Orthodoxy] [perpetual] [virginity]


Tim Bulkeley has posted the latest Biblical studies carnival, including round ups of a number of series that have been unfolding over the past month, as well as other topics, such as the SBL decision to paywall Review of Biblical Literature. I had already... [Biblical Studies Carnival] [biblioblogging] [Society of Biblical Literature] [biblioblog] [biblioblogosphere] [RBL] [Review of Biblical literature] [SBL]


Jesus says, “The apostles were stupid and lazy men, who wrote whatever they wished with a great deal of paper and ink.” The quotation comes from the work known as Dialogue of the Paralytic with Christ, which you can read on Tony Burke’s blog. I... [India] [apocrypha] [apostles] [jesus]

January 30, 6PM

The second half of my Talk Gnosis interview is now available as a podcast (and the video is available to subscribers, who will get to see me put on my Fourth Doctor scarf at the end of the discussion, when the conversation turns from the Mandaeans to cla... [Mandaeans] [Gnostic] [Gnosticism] [Interview] [podcast] [Talk Gnosis]
There is a very interesting set of upcoming events for those living in the Indianapolis area, focusing on the music of Arvo Pärt. On February 4th at 7pm, at St. George’s Orthodox Church in Fishers, Indiana, there will be performances of Pärt’... [music] [Arvo Pärt] [ballet] [center] [composer] [cooperation] [dance] [Fishers] [Indianapolis] [Interfaith] [performance] [Peter Bouteneff] [Spirituality]

12 PM

It stumbles on its wording a little. But I still think the new version is intelligible, and makes a nice point through humor. When someone puts down their phone and gives you their full attention nowadays, it is an expression of their utmost respect.We co... [Gospel of John] [humor] [Technology] [attention] [paraphrase] [phone] [telephones] [Unvirtuous Abbey] [updated]


Creationists can find 3,000 academics who will sign a statement against evolution. That’s not 3,000 academics in relevant fields, just 3,000 academics, including retired ones. I’ve yet to see mythicism show any sign of even coming close to th... [mythicism] [pseudoscience] [young-earth creationism] [academics] [creationism] [creationists] [Darwin] [dissent] [evolution] [list] [mythicists] [Professors] [signatures] [sympathizers]


The image above comes from Neil Carter’s blog, and I made a note of it as something to come back to at a later point. But then Kyle Roberts shared a quote from Neil Gillman, asking whether humans invent God or discover God.I appreciated his point t... [theology] [Anthropomorphism] [atheism] [God] [images] [sophisticated] [symbolic] [symbols] [theologians]

January 29, 10AM

If you haven’t heard yet, a statement has been issued by a group of hundreds of Muslim scholars, called the Marrakesh Declaration, on the subject of religious minorities in predominantly Muslim countries. After an extensive preamble explaining the ... [Islam] [countries] [declaration] [Islamic] [Marrakesh] [minorities] [societies]


I really like the suggestion that Shayna Sheinfeld shared in a recent article, for using word clouds in a pre-test and then post-test in classes. If you ask students what they think, or think they know, about a topic, on the first day of class or the sta... [education] [Judaism] [assessment] [classroom] [informal] [religion] [Shayna Sheinfeld] [word cloud]


It has been interesting teaching my course on the historical Jesus again. Even in the few years that have passed since the last time I taught it, the strong shift in the academy away from an older approach to the subject has been very noticeable. Much of... [historical Jesus] [Adolf Hitler] [Buddha] [criteria of authenticity] [Donald Trump] [fake] [gist] [historians] [historical] [Hitler] [impression] [internet] [meme] [memes] [memory] [Mother Teresa] [Quotes]


We all need a reminder from time to time that the traditions which the conservative hold on to and seek to preserve are not from time immemorial. This topic came up in my Sunday school class recently, and one individual said that he knew people who remem... [Fundamentalism] [India] [Americas] [Conservative] [evolution] [indian] [pepper] [peppers] [timeless] [Tradition] [truths] [unchanging]

January 28, 7PM

Here are the videos of MYO’s Orchestra A’s performances at their recent Classical Concert at the Hilbert Circle Theater. They performed a movement from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony:Click here to view the embedded video.The Bach Concerto fo... [music] [anniversary] [Bach] [Beethoven] [Copland] [Metropolitan Youth Orchestra] [MYO] [videos] [YouTube]


In my class on the Bible we recently covered the story of the Exodus. Just before we reached that point, I noticed a mention of a new documentary, which seemed to be recycling old ideas, called Patterns of Evidence: Exodus, which in turn is based on the b... [Exodus] [Archaeology] [date] [Dating] [Egypt] [evidence] [exaggeration] [historical] [historicity] [history] [hyperbole] [Merneptah] [Pharaoh]


Question: What do you call someone who doesn’t know whether two gods exist?Answer: A “diagnostic.” HT Vance Socci for the joke. [humor] [religion] [agnosticism] [bad puns] [diagnostic] [Dualism] [gods] [joke] [zoroastrianism]


Hemant Mehta shared a really useful thought experiment/discussion starter, which deserves to circulate widely. It is inspired by a newspaper column by Robert Kirby, and takes the form of a simple question: if there was a button that you could push, which ... [religion] [button] [certainty] [experiment] [faith] [know] [knowledge] [red] [thought] [truth]


Click here to view the embedded video.The video above is the first part of an interview I did for the online podcast series Talk Gnosis. In a couple of days, they will release the second part which is for subscribers only. Click through for more details a... [Gnosticism] [Mandaeans] [Interview] [podcast] [Talk Gnosis] [video] [YouTube]

January 27, 7PM

Sometimes we neglect to explain how to do something, assuming that it should be common knowledge, and then live with constant frustration when others fail to know what we think they should. How to write to one’s professor in an appropriate manner is... [Academia] [education] [appropriate] [class] [College] [e-mail] [Email] [format] [professor] [Professors] [student] [students] [tutorial] [university]


The second episode in the new X-Files series is sort of X-Files meets X-Men. On the one hand, it had a very strong feel of the classic “monster of the week” kind of episode, while on the other, the specific case was clearly connected to the ne... [X-Files] [Dana Scully] [experiments] [Fox Mulder] [genetic] [mutation] [X Files]


Several bloggers have drawn attention to the cartoon above, including PZ Myers and Gavin Rumney. It is interesting to take a closer look at it in view of the recent attempts at discussion with atheists around a post on this blog. There have been a few in... [science]


Readers of the Bible are sometimes surprised by the warning not just against being too wicked, but also against being too righteous (Ecclesiastes 7:16). The above diagram, which came to my attention on Facebook, seems to me to explain the point well. And... [Ecclesiastes] [continuum] [virtue]

January 26, 3PM

Zack Hunt shared the above image on Facebook. I have not had any real interest in participating in the creation of these stick figure descriptions of oneself, but I have appreciated several of the parodies and attempts at humor around them. And this one, ... [Fundamentalism] [humor] [politics] [Candida Moss] [Donald Trump] [endorsement] [jerry falwell] [Liberty University] [president] [presidential] [stick figures]


Jerry Coyne drew attention to a competition with a cash prize, asking people to invent a religion. The Huffington Post has an article about the competition, and the full rules are online. It is actually an interesting competition, precisely because it is ... [religion] [activity] [class] [classroom] [competition] [create] [invent] [prize] [religious studies]


Two different people suggested that this quote should be turned into a meme. It is from a blog post which rounded up blogging about the Christology of Mark’s Gospel, in which I also referred to and summarized an article in Christianity Today about... [Academia] [Evangelicals] [academic] [Conservative] [evangelicalism] [faith] [fear] [honest]

January 25, 12 PM

The call for papers for the American Academy of Religion 2016 Annual Meeting in San Antonio is now live on the website. Click through to submit a proposal or browse the calls for papers. Below is the text from the program unit of which I am co-chair, Trad... [American Academy of Religion] [Call for Papers] [AAR] [Annual Meeting] [Call for Papers] [CFP] [conference] [late antiquity] [Texas]
I loved seeing the X-Files make its return to television last night. Here are some thoughts about the episode and in particular religious themes in it.The episode begins with Mulder’s story and perspective. In narrating about the long history of UF... [X-Files]


Atheism is easy to disprove. Watch:Cats existAncient Egyptians (as well as some current cat owners) worship cats as godsTherefore, gods existTherefore, atheism is falseI am being somewhat flippant, but as I have pointed out before (then using the example ... [atheism] [cats] [Egyptian] [existence] [gods] [proof]

January 24, 4AM

Here’s another doozy I came across on Facebook. The creator clearly didn’t care that the speaker in this verse is Eliphaz, and that in the final chapter of the book, God is said to be angry with Eliphaz and his friends for not having spoken ri... [Book of Job] [calendar] [daily] [Friends] [Job] [verse]

January 23, 5PM

There has been a lot of discussion and speculation about The Force Awakens related to Kylo Ren’s admiration for his grandfather, Darth Vader, and his fear that he will never be as strong as he was.I think that one thing that the prequels offer that... [Star Wars] [admiration] [Anakin Skywalker] [Boba Fett] [child] [comic book] [Darth Vader] [evil] [father] [Force] [good] [grandfather] [heroes] [Kylo Ren] [Luke Skywalker] [Padme Amidala] [prequels] [son] [villains]


Robert Piper offered this quip on Facebook as a comment on another meme, and I thought it deserved to become a meme in its own right, and so (with his permission), here it is. [humor] [information literacy] [Gaul] [internet] [Julius Caesar] [meme] [misattributed] [quote] [taxes]

January 22, 7AM

The joke seems to me the perfect combination of the “Two Corinthians” set up and a punch line that alludes to the First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians. It is from a comment on an earlier post about “Two Corinthians.” I thought... [1 Corinthians] [humor] [epistle] [joke] [letter] [meal] [Two Corinthians]


When I came across this meme, I simply couldn’t believe my eyes. The image is labeled “ATHEISM: Good enough for these idiots” – yet it includes famous people who were Deists, agnostics, and a pantheist, as well as at least a coup... [atheism] [abraham lincoln] [atheist] [atheists] [Benjamin Franklin] [carl sagan] [charles darwin] [ernest hemingway] [Mark Twain] [meme]

January 21, 10AM

I confess that my desk is covered in books, and papers from last semester and probably older. Have you been judging me, the way the infographic below suggests? [Academia] [humor] [clutter] [Desk] [Infographic]


The quote comes from a post on Brian Zahnd’s blog with the title “The X-Files is Better Than Scooby Doo.” Since the X-Files is returning next weekend, that is another good reason to share the quote and mention the post. Are you excited a... [art] [Fundamentalism] [X-Files] [Brian Zahnd] [Christianity] [paint-by-numbers] [Scooby Doo] [X Files]

January 20, 8AM

It struck me, in discussing the flap about Donald Trump saying “Two Corinthians” rather than “Second Corinthians,” the reaction says a lot about conservative Evangelicalism. Conservative and fundamentalist Evangelicals will react... [2 Corinthians] [Evangelicals] [Fundamentalism] [politics] [aramaic] [Donald Trump] [jesus] [Justice] [Liberty University] [minutiae] [morality] [pun] [weightier]


Donald Trump has been getting flack for saying “Two Corinthians” when referring to the work that is known as “Second Corinthians.” That is short for “Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians.” And to be honest, I w... [2 Corinthians] [politics] [Donald Trump] [Evangelicals] [Liberty University]

January 19, 4AM

This New Yorker cartoon came to my attention via Hemant Mehta on Facebook. It often strikes me how few people notice the horror and brutality of the flood story in Genesis. It depicts God acting like an immature human being, one who would happily wipe... [Genesis] [ark] [cartoon] [flood] [New Yorker] [Noah] [Noah's Ark]

January 18, 12 PM


Dustin Smith has offered a response to Mike Bird’s recent post about Mark’s Christology. We also got a quote from Daniel Kirk which addressed Bird’s claims even before he made them.Someone suggested that that might place Daniel among the... [Christology] [gospel of mark] [Bart D. Ehrman] [Bart Ehrman] [Christ] [Daniel] [debate] [Dustin Smith] [God] [J. R. Daniel Kirk] [jesus] [Michael Bird] [Mike Bird]


We must develop a program that will drive the nation to a guaranteed annual income.The quote comes from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech “Where Do We Go From Here?”  That King was a social liberal is well known. That he was a theolo... [Uncategorized]

January 17, 4AM

Academic study focuses on the world of cause and effect, on evidence and probability. And so there has been much discussion of methodological naturalism in the sciences, at least among those who are disgruntled by the fact that the sciences don’t ma... [Academia] [atheism] [religion] [academic] [agnosticism] [debate] [method] [methodological] [methodology] [methods] [naturalism] [science] [Study]

January 16, 4AM

Most of you will be aware that I’ve been on sabbatical last semester. My department administrator used the term “sabbatitude” at some point early in the semester, and I liked the term, and so I thought I would use it in the title of this... [Academia] [biblioblogging] [blogging] [Mandaeans] [religion] [research] [sabbatical] [scholarship] [science fiction] [theology]

January 15, 11AM

Mike Bird posted this on his blog, offering it as a summary of Mark’s Christology:The Marcan Jesus participates in the kyricentricity of Israel’s God. He is identified as a pre-existent heavenly figure who has come to earth, who carries divine aut... [Christology] [gospel of mark] [Divinity] [Mike Bird] [pre-existence]



I was blown away when Joshua Kim, in a piece he wrote for Inside Higher Ed, answered a question about what is exciting in the future of education, and he answered in terms of the liberal arts. And so I’ve been meaning to share this quote, and a li... [education] [Joshua Kim] [liberal arts] [lifelong learning]

January 14, 9AM

I am delighted to share the news that J. R. Daniel Kirk, a friend and fellow scholar whose blog I’ve regularly linked to and interacted with here, has moved his blog to Patheos. You can find his first post in the new location here:http://www.patheo... [biblioblogging] [Patheos] [blog] [Blogger] [J. R. Daniel Kirk]


On the first day of my class on the Bible, I ask students what order we should read the Bible in. This year I made explicit reference to “machete order” – the approach to Star Wars that maximizes suspense by starting with Episode IV and... [Bible] [Star Wars] [canon] [machete] [order] [prequels]

January 13, 4AM

I’ve been waiting for the start of classes to return to a post on another Patheos blog from some months ago. It was a response to a student who asked whether a particular class was going to challenge their faith and make them uncomfortable.My answe... [education] [challenged] [Challenges] [Christian] [classes] [College] [faith] [learning] [university]

January 12, 4AM

Click here to view the embedded video.This is another video that was entered into the PALNI contest that I blogged about last year, but which I didn't get around to sharing until now. It features Indiana Jones looking for the Holy Grail and so taking... [Libraries] [holy grail] [Indiana Jones] [PALNI] [videos]

January 11, 11AM

Via $%@! Academics Say. There is also version not customized for academics (although it may not make sense if you don’t like donuts): [Academia] [humor] [academics] [active] [aggressive] [passive] [voice] [Writing]


I am on the search committee that will be looking for a new associate provost at Butler University. The details follow below. Please spread the word to candidates that you think would be interested and well-suited!Butler University invites nominations an... [Academia] [administrator] [associate] [Butler University] [high impact practices] [Job] [Opening] [provost] [search]


The Religion Graduate Organization invites you to submit paper and panel proposals to the semi-annual Religion Graduate Conference, Encountering the Unexpected: Glitches, (Dis)placements, and Marginalia. This conference actively encourages interdiscipli... [Call for Papers] [religion] [aliens] [Call for Papers] [CFP] [conference] [cybernetics] [ghosts] [grad students] [graduate students] [Mysteries] [Mysticism] [paranormal] [Supernatural] [unexplained]


I recently came across some Star Wars lego images about classroom education, and wanted to share them. Click through were more like the above came from.There was also an interesting article in the Chronicle that could be filed under “treating stud... [education] [Star Wars] [classroom] [clones] [Illustrations] [Lecture] [lego] [posters]

January 10, 4AM

The quote comes from Sheila Kennedy’s blog post, “The Uses and Abuses of Religion.” Click through to read her own simpler formula than her son’s (which includes an expletive). [Progressive Christianity] [principles] [quote] [religions] [Sheila Kennedy]

January 9, 8PM

I shared the above image with the following comment from me:I continue to hear from people who don't think America has a problem. One common suggestion from Christian gun lovers is that this is not a gun problem but a sin problem. That must mean that... [politics] [firearms] [gun] [gundamentalism] [gundamentalists] [Guns] [National Rifle Association] [Neil de Grasse Tyson] [Neil deGrasse Tyson] [NRA] [tweet] [Twitter] [Weapons] [Word]


Here’s another problematic image I came across on Facebook. It was accompanied by the statement, “Heliocentrism is not necessarily the only perspective, but it is certainly the simpler one. When explanatory power is equivalent, simplicity is a... [astronomy] [science] [accuracy] [Albert Einstein] [Copernican] [Copernicus] [geocentric] [geocentrism] [heliocentric] [heliocentrism] [Isaac Newton] [Johannes Kepler] [quote] [scientific] [simple]


A friend shared this meme, together with the comment, “Showing that whatever else atheists are, they are not students of history and historical criticism.”The irony is that the claims in the image above themselves circulate and circulate in th... [atheism] [Bible] [atheists] [copied] [copies] [fact-checking] [Manuscripts] [meme] [memes] [oral tradition] [skeptics] [telephone]

January 8, 12 PM

My former student Josh Boeke has started a blog, and his first post tells a bit about his own personal faith journey away from fundamentalism. I get a brief mention on it, and on the one hand, it makes me really wish that he and I had had more of a chance... [religion] [blog] [Butler University] [C. S. Lewis] [echo chamber] [Facebook] [faith] [Josh Boeke] [Opinions] [questions] [student]


It is a striking coincidence that I just a few days ago watched Blade Runner again, together with my son who was seeing it for the first time. Its future is too close in time to ours to seem plausible now, but other than the dates being off, the possibi... [science fiction] [birthday] [Blade Runner] [date] [incept] [movie] [replicant] [Roy Batty] [Sci-fi]


The quote comes from Ben Corey’s recent blog post “The Real Reason Wheaton College is Terminating Larycia Hawkins: Loving the Common ‘Enemy’.” I thought it deserved to be highlighted and shared. Do you agree that fundamental... [Fundamentalism] [Benjamin Corey] [Benjamin L. Corey] [Identity] [Larycia Hawkins] [quote] [sociological] [Wheaton] [wheaton college]

January 7, 4AM

There have been quite a few blog posts of interest, related to Christology, which are worth sharing and, where possible, commenting on.Matthew Malcolm listed the “threeness of God” as one of the things the Corinthians got right. I must object.... [Christology] [jesus]

January 6, 12 PM

Having attempted to do away with contradictions between Matthew and Luke for Christmas, Ian Paul has now offered a blog post claiming that Matthew’s story of the arrival of the magi can be treated as historical.I am not persuaded. Infancy stories fe... [Gospel of Matthew] [history] [Epiphany] [Herod] [historians] [historical] [Ian Paul] [Magi] [methods] [N. T. Wright] [Scot McKnight]


There is an interesting call for papers for a conference in Helsinki, Finland next September, on the synagogue in ancient Palestine. Sounds fascinating! Click through for more information.Of related interest, here is a photo of Butler students at the syna... [Archaeology] [Call for Papers] [Judaism] [ancient] [Call for Papers] [CFP] [conference] [Palestine] [synagogue]


From Cartoon Movement. That’s the trouble with the magi delivering their gifts, according to Matthew, when Jesus would have been old enough to talk…For those who want something more serious on the occasion of Epiphany, I will point out that no... [humor] [cartoon] [gifts] [iPhone] [jesus] [Magi] [present] [three wise men] [wise men]

January 5, 11AM

Bob Cargill’s latest book, The Cities That Built the Bible, is now available for pre-order. There is a website about the book, and you can pre-order it on Since it is now available, I thought I would share the full version of the blurb I... [Archaeology] [Bible] [book review] [israel] [Travel] [blurb] [Bob Cargill] [book] [Harper Collins] [pre-order] [Review] [robert cargill]


I will do a retrospective post about my sabbatical soon – I’m not considering it to be over just yet, since I am still finishing off one project, and classes don’t start until next week.But I thought I would share a separate post about o... [Stargate] [baking] [blog] [blogging] [bread] [breakfast] [buturugi] [cakes] [diet] [exercise] [food] [Lunch] [recipes] [salad] [snacking] [weight loss]


“Nevertheless the opinion of experts, when it is unanimous, must be accepted by non-experts as more likely to be right than the opposite opinion. The scepticism that I advocate amounts only to this: (1) that when the experts are agreed, the opposite... [Academia] [philosophy] [Bertrand Russell] [consensus] [experts] [scepticism] [scholars] [skepticism] [skeptics]

January 4, 4AM

A Christian university offers a “free course” so its students can get a license to carry a concealed firearm? Why are guns so important to the folks at Liberty that they offer a course on concealed carry free of charge? If a Christian college offers f... [politics] [AAR] [American Academy of Religion] [Annual Meeting] [concealed] [conference] [course] [firearms] [free] [gun] [Guns] [jerry falwell] [Larry Behrendt] [Liberty University] [open carry] [priorities] [San Antonio] [SBL] [Society of Biblical Literature] [Texas] [Weapons]

January 3, 4AM

Kent Hovind has suggested that God may have put difficulties in the Bible to weed out the atheists. I’d like to suggest that it is more likely that God put them in there (if indeed God is to blame) in order to see which Christians would be honest en... [Acts of the Apostles] [Bible] [Inerrancy] [young-earth creationism] [atheists] [charlatan] [contradiction] [contradictions] [dishonest] [dishonesty] [errors] [honest] [honesty] [inerrant] [Kent Hovind]

January 2, 7PM

I am pretty sure that this image is just a Star Wars fan trolling Christians. But of course, Qui-Gon does look a lot like the stereotypical image of Jesus, he dies fighting a bad guy who looks a lot like traditional views of the devil, and he manages to r... [Christianity] [humor] [Star Wars] [Darth Maul] [Devil] [Jedi] [jesus] [meme] [Qui-Gin Jin] [Satan] [stereotypes] [stereotypical]


Jennifer Guo has posted the latest Biblical Studies Carnival on her blog. Click through to explore highlights from biblioblogging last month.As always, Phil Long has details about upcoming carnivals. [Biblical Studies Carnival] [biblioblogging] [Bible] [Biblioblogs] [bloggers] [blogging] [jennifer guo] [round-up]


An opinion piece about academic conferences in the New York Times a while back got a lot of attention, and I created a draft post about it but didn’t return to the topic until now.On the one hand, it was saying something that I have said before &#... [education] [Academia] [administrators] [Conferences] [online]

January 1, 6AM

I had the two images above forwarded to me by a blog reader. They represent the average composite that emerged from combining the features of actors who've portrayed Jesus and Satan in films. I'll bet you can tell which is which without needing ... [art] [movies] [actors] [composite] [image] [jesus] [Satan]

December 31 2015, 10PM

Happy new year to all who read this blog (and who use the Gregorian Calendar)!   [humor]


Rachel Held Evans shared the above words, in a post which also says “even the most painful religious experiences cannot simply be discarded. They must be confronted, molded, repurposed.  It’s a messy, sacred process” and “Yes, we... [Progressive Christianity] [American] [Christianity] [Culture] [quote] [Rachel Held Evans]

December 30, 6PM



Over the past year, this blog received more than a million and a half pageviews, by more than 900,ooo distinct users. In the past, I’ve listed the most popular pages of the year regardless of when they were written, and I’ll mention a few fr... [biblioblogging] [Patheos] [articles] [blog] [blogging] [Exploring Our Matrix] [list] [popular] [Posts] [Ranking] [Top 10] [year]


This Star Wars themed painting by Banksy seemed worth sharing. [art] [Star Wars] [Banksy] [graffiti] [wars]

December 29, 7AM

Thom Stark wrote the following on Facebook:The book of Revelation is just a retread of the apocalyptic portions of Daniel and Ezekiel, almost to the point of plagiarism. And it’s full of plot holes. Just goes to show the creative bankruptcy of the w... [Daniel] [Revelation] [Star Wars] [derivative] [remake] [Revelation]


The Acts of John concludes with Jesus leading his disciples in song (with words that Gustav Holst famously set to music). Abram Kielsmier-Jones spotted a typo in an English heading in his Greek New Testament, which may provide the backstory to the incid... [gospel of luke] [Greek] [music] [Acts of John] [Gustav Holst] [misprint] [sign] [sing] [Song] [typo] [typos]

December 28, 7AM

I just came across this picture showing how BB-8 (the droid in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, for the few who don’t recognize it immediately) actually works on the inside: [humor] [Star Wars] [BB-8] [cat] [cats] [droid] [funny]


The title of the post refers to two recent articles. One is Tom Smietana’s article in the Washington Post, offering a religious case for ignoring Episodes I, II, and III of Star Wars. He likens the prequels to the Gnostic Gospels – although he... [Bible] [Star Wars]

December 27, 1PM

Stephen Matheson shared his experience of seeing the new Star Wars movie on Facebook, and considerately redacted out anything that might give away plot details. It was so good, I had to share it:Thoughts about The Force Awakens. Spoilers have been fully r... [Star Wars] [funny] [movie] [Review] [spoilers]


December 26, 6AM

Someone should create a Republican Obi-Wan Twitter account, if they haven’t already…HT Hemant Mehta [politics] [Star Wars] [Force] [Obi-Wan Kenobi] [prayers] [republican]

December 25, 9PM

Tonight’s episode of Doctor Who works as a comedy episode throughout most of it, and then as a tender romance towards the end. Whether the combination of the two really works or not is hard to say, but the result was enjoyable even if it didn’... [Doctor Who] [archaeologist] [Archaeology] [Christmas] [comedy] [episode] [humor] [husband] [husbands] [River Song] [thief] [wife]


Did you get it? If not, here is the explanation…GLORIA IN EXCEL SHEETS!(as in “in Excel sheets Deo”…)   [humor] [bad puns] [Christmas] [Excel] [funny] [hosanna] [Hosannas] [Latin]


Thanks to the Daily Kos for these. Seeing Rand’s words on Christmas cards seems to make it that much clearer how much her philosophy of unbridled capitalism is diametrically opposed to the teachings of Christianity. Click through for more. [Economics] [ayn rand] [capitalism] [cards] [Christmas] [philosophy] [selfishness]


I saw this in the store and had to take a picture of it. Inside the message is that you should be glad you got a gift card.I hope that you received things that you like for Christmas. I certainly did. And if you received an Amazon gift card, please do use... [Gospel of Matthew] [humor] [card] [Christmas] [manger] [myrrh]


It is Christmas, so I will keep this brief. I hope you have a merry Christmas – and even if you don’t celebrate the holiday, I wish you a very happy day! [NOTE: Please be advised that the holiday greeting above is offered in the spirit o... [Progressive Christianity] [Christmas]

December 24, 2PM

Click here to view the embedded video.This arrangement of Silent Night by Stephen Paulus was featured on Performance Today recently, and it is stunningly beautiful and hauntingly moving.And from the same episode of Performance Today, here is advice from F... [music] [arrangement] [choir] [choral] [Christmas] [Silent Night] [singers] [Song] [Stephen Paulus]


Someone left a comment on an old blog post I shared on Facebook, saying they thought that the massacre of the innocents was created to depict Jesus as having been predicted by Jeremiah. Here’s what I wrote in response:I doubt that Matthew thought th... [Gospel of Matthew] [Christmas] [fulfilment] [Prophecy] [Rachel] [weeping]


I’m not sure whether it has always been true that the music in Star Wars is something that I notice only on a second viewing, or after hearing the soundtrack separately, or whether J. J. Abrams has the music feature less prominently than George Luca... [music] [Star Wars] [awakens] [Force] [George Lucas] [J. J. Abrams] [John Williams] [score] [soundtrack]


For those who find the parody religion Pastafarianism funny, you won’t want to miss the FSM nativity scenes that were recently shared. Here’s a sample:Finally, a religion that gets what a manger is supposed to be for…On a more serious no... [humor] [Flying Spaghetti Monster] [FSM] [manger] [Nativity] [Pastafarianism]

December 23, 4AM

Anyone familiar with Jewish mysticism will get why I thought for a moment that it was. And anyone who has to deal with America’s non-metric measuring system will find this guide to that confusing mystical realm helpful.Via Neil Carter on Facebook. [humor] [conversion] [cups] [diagram] [gallon] [Jewish] [Kabbalah] [measurement] [metric] [Mysticism] [pints] [quarts] [tablespoons] [teaspoons]

December 22, 7AM

Dale Tuggy shared this image on his blog, along with some thoughts on it:Tuggy’s comment on it is worth sharing:This argument kills with 8th-graders. But any adults should be unimpressed. I’ll wager that any adult can think of many written reports... [mythicism] [Batman] [Dale Tuggy] [jesus] [Michael J. KRUGER] [mytherism] [mythicists] [proof] [Stephen Bedard]


Several calls for papers came to my attention recently. One is a repeat of a call for contributions to a new journal of science fiction studies which I mentioned here previously. The second is a call for papers for a celebration of Star Trek connected wit... [Academia] [Call for Papers] [science fiction] [academic] [Chicago] [conference] [DePaul University] [Sci-fi] [Star Trek]

December 21, 3AM

Jim Linville shared the poster above, which is a great opportunity for students  of religion at any level to present their research at an academic conference.And answering the question “What Would Jim Do?”, here’s an academic conferenc... [Academia] [Call for Papers] [religion] [academic] [CFP] [conference] [Jim Linville] [Lethbridge] [religious] [research] [Studies] [undergraduate] [university] [University of Lethbridge]

December 20, 6AM

The call for papers for the 2016 Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting is now available online. Having joined the Digital Humanities program unit, let me highlight its call for papers here.DIGITAL HUMANITIES IN BIBLICAL, EARLY JEWISH, AND CHRISTIA... [Call for Papers] [Society of Biblical Literature] [Annual Meeting] [Blogger] [blogging] [Call for Papers] [CFP] [digital] [humanities] [SBL]


Click here to view the embedded video.I recently learned that there is an album in Norwegian featuring songs the lyrics of which are poems about the life of Christ. The vocalist is Morten Harket- perhaps known to some of you as the lead singer of A-ha. Th... [music] [A-ha] [Christ] [Morten Harket] [Songs]

December 19, 7AM

Readers of this blog have presumably heard the news about a small number of parents in Greenville, Virginia who complained and threatened to pull their children out from school because children were learning about world religions, and one activity involv... [education] [Islam] [Progressive Christianity] [Al-Jazeera] [assignment] [calligraphy] [Golden Rule] [news] [school] [Virginia]


I was disturbed to see Charisma News appealing recently to outright falsehoods in its efforts to encourage readers to keep accepting the virgin birth as though it were a historical fact that is supported by evidence. Here are the claims they make:    ... [Evangelicals] [gospel of luke] [Gospel of Matthew]

December 18, 12 PM

I’ve seen Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. For the most part, I love what J. J. Abrams has accomplished. Have you seen it yet? If not, you won’t want to read further. There are some major spoilers.It is only a minor spoiler to mentio... [movies] [Star Wars] [awakens] [Ben] [Force] [General] [Han Solo] [J. J. Abrams] [Leia Organa] [Max von Sydow] [Millennium Falcon] [movie] [princess] [Review] [sequel] [spoilers]


This Existential Comics gets at one of the biggest challenges that encounter with extraterrestrials could offer to terrestrial faiths. Some have presumed that either the presence of belief in incarnations of God on their world would be a biggie, at least ... [philosophy] [theology] [aliens] [cartoon] [comic] [existential] [extraterrestrials] [humor] [meaning of life]

December 17, 8PM

This is a photo of the most massive Star Wars spoiler I have ever come across. Seriously, have you ever come across a bigger Star Wars spoiler than this one?  [humor] [movies] [Star Wars] [awakens] [bad puns] [Force] [funny] [spoiler alert] [spoilers]


Although it will be a few more months before it is out in print, the Kindle edition of Touching the Face of the Cosmos: On the Intersection of Space Travel and Religion is now available. Take a look at the table of contents on Amazon's preview, if yo... [religion] [science fiction] [cosmos] [Jerusalem] [New] [Paul Levinson] [short story] [space] [spaceflight] [spaceship] [station]

12 PM

Click here to view the embedded video.Enjoy this weather report from the UK for the day that The Force Awakens premiers. It is impressive that weather reporter Sian Welby manages to incorporate so many Star Wars puns, and to do so while keeping a straight... [Star Wars] [bad puns] [forecast] [funny] [humor] [report] [UK] [Weather]


A blog reader sent me a compilation of Richard Carrier's treatment of reviews of his work, which the individual suggested should be kept until the next time Carrier “brings a gun to a review fight.” Since Carrier saw fit not only to sing ... [mythicism] [academic] [Bart Ehrman] [Book Reviews] [Maurice Casey] [peer review] [peer-reviewed] [publisher] [Richard Carrier]


December 16, 8AM

I’ve been meaning to mention Syndicate Symposia on my blog for a long while now. The fact that a couple of blogs I subscribe to have mentioned symposia on topics that interest me has sparked me into action. The Jesus Blog mentioned one focused on... [theology] [conference] [debate] [God] [James Crossley] [jesus] [LeRon Shults] [online] [Philip Clayton] [Symposium] [Syndicate]


Jeff Carter offered some Whovian versions of Christmas carol titles. I didn’t think I could do better, so I’ll just link to his list.And as usual, the BBC has some Doctor Who Christmas cards that you can download and print. I particularly like... [Doctor Who] [Christmas]

December 15, 8PM

Valerie Tarico, despite saying that she defers to the consensus of experts, nonetheless offers five really bad reasons for thinking Jesus might not have existed.1) She says that there are no secular sources about Jesus, neglecting to mention that the noti... [mythicism] [David Fitzgerald] [Harry McCall] [historical] [jesus] [John Loftus] [mytherism] [mythicists] [Richard Carrier] [Robert M. Price] [Valerie Tarico]


This made me laugh:Of related interest, those who believe in getting back to the original form of the faith will want to look into the despecialized edition of the original trilogy. [Star Wars] [despecialized] [download] [holy] [original] [torrent] [trilogy] [Trinity]


Lancaster Online published an article about “The Spirituality of Star Wars,” and also put together a collection of other interesting materials related to Star Wars. Jeremy Smith put together a list to help people prepare for watching The Force... [Star Wars] [Spirituality]


The person who shared this Christmas stamp from the UK suggested that it depicts Mary playing a Yamaha keyboard and Joseph with a microphone. What do you think?  [humor] [Christmas] [funny] [Joseph] [karaoke] [keyboard] [mary] [postage] [stamp] [UK] [Yamaha]

December 14, 9AM

Click here to view the embedded video.My attention was drawn to the plan to build a combined church/mosque/synagogue in Berlin, to be called the “House of One.” I suspect that it will not have a bar, given Muslim opposition to alcoholic bever... [Christianity] [Islam] [Judaism] [Berlin] [church] [House of One] [Interfaith] [mosque] [synagogue]


From My Free Bingo Cards. Although I have not been teaching this semester, I can relate to these. Indeed, mankind has found them relatable since since time began, when Webster’s dictionary defined BINGO as…. [Academia] [education] [humor] [bingo] [funny] [Professors] [semester]

December 13, 11AM

Wipf and Stock has published a lot of great books, including some that I have been involved with. You know about Religion and Science Fiction and Religion and Doctor Who: Time and Relative Dimensions in Faith. But as Dustin Smith pointed out on his blog,... [Christology] [arianism] [Christmas] [coupon] [gifts] [Monotheism] [Noël] [Socinianism] [Son of God] [Trinitarianism] [Wipf & Stock] [Wipf and Stock]



And as an example of how not to respond appropriately, there’s this ad which thinks that you don’t need to know a language or even its alphabet in order to wish someone a Happy Hanukkah…   [religion] [ad] [chart] [Christmas] [flow chart] [Hanukkah] [Happy] [Holidays] [LORD] [Taylor] [war on Christmas]

December 12, 8PM

I saw the news on Facebook that I. Howard Marshall has passed away. If you aren’t familiar with this famous Evangelical New Testament scholar, there are a number of his articles and other writings online on the website. See fo... [New Testament] [articles] [Books] [died] [I. Howard Marshall] [obituary] [RIP]


Click here to view the embedded video.A newer rendition of the classic sci-fi Christmas song by Chris DeBurgh, “A Spaceman Came Traveling,” here performed by Celtic Women. This performance was drawn to my attention via the new book from Rowma... [music] [Celtic] [Chris De Burgh] [Christmas] [Sci-fi] [Song] [UFO] [women]


Tim Gombis wrote the above in a recent blog post, addressing the implications of the cross of Jesus for the statements of people like Jerry Falwell Jr. about not merely carrying weapons, but using them against adherents of another religion:The cross is no... [Christianity] [Cross] [discipleship] [Guns] [jerry falwell] [jesus] [Liberty University] [Muslims] [quote] [Tim Gombis]


Academics who are finishing classes and gearing up for grading, I strongly recommend that you take a day off. PHD Comics explains what that means in our lingo:  [Academia] [humor] [cartoon] [comic] [comics] [grading] [PhD] [references] [relaxation]

December 11, 5PM

This might be the best correction in the history of correcting stuff…I too would like to believe that love trumps hate, while I do not love Trump's hate.  [humor] [politics] [correction] [Donald Trump] [funny] [Hilary Clinton] [newspaper] [politicians] [retraction] [tweet]

12 PM

Click here to view the embedded video.It has been a while since I’ve shared a piece of music, and so here is some Bruce Broughton for you to enjoy. I caught the end of the piece on the radio yesterday and knew I needed to look it up. [music] [brass] [Bruce Broughton]


The quote comes from a Facebook status update by Jesse Dooley, shared here with his permission. [Progressive Christianity] [Belief] [conversion] [convert] [Jesse Dooley] [love]

December 10, 2PM

I’m not one of those bloggers who asks for donations – the fact that most of you visit here without using AdBlocker or something similar is quite enough, and I am grateful. But as an Amazon associate, I suppose I ought to let you know that, i... [Patheos] [Amazon] [Christmas] [Shopping]

12 PM

Click here to view the embedded video.Make of this what you will…but if you are so inclined, it might actually be interesting to talk about what would or would not change in Star Wars if Donald Trump, saying the things that he has been lately, were ... [humor] [politics] [Star Wars] [Darth Vader] [Donald Trump] [parody]



Peter Gurry has written an interesting post about variants in the manuscripts of the New Testament. The short version is that one first has to define what one means by “variants,” since we do not have an original against which to compare, and... [Greek] [New Testament] [Manuscripts] [variants]

December 9, 4AM

Don’t get me wrong. I am delighted that one can use Google Street View to visit the Israel Museum. It is an amazing place, and everyone ought to rush to do this immediately. It really is very cool.But for those who may be wondering, it is still wor... [israel]

December 8, 5PM

A timely MOOC was drawn to my attention – Yale University is offering one that relates to the depiction of the Jewish menorah on the Arch of Titus, and so may be worth looking into – or perhaps rebelling against – in this Hanukkah seas... [Judaism] [bad puns] [Chanukkah] [Han Solo] [Hanukkah] [holiday] [Menorah] [MOOC] [Rome] [titus] [Yale University]


December 7, 4AM

I like this cartoon, since it takes an idol worshiped by many who claim to be Christians, and relates it to another idol mention in the Bible which they would never worship. Hopefully it will make some such individuals think. But it would be unfair not to... [Exodus] [cow] [cows] [Golden Calf] [Guns] [sacred] [Worship]

December 6, 4AM

December 5, 8PM

“Hell Bent” was a nice season finale for what has been, I would say, the best season of the Peter Capaldi era thus far, with some episodes that will surely remain all-time classics.The way the episode begins is mysterious, and makes sense only... [Doctor Who] [Ashildr] [Clara Oswald] [cloister bell] [Gallifrey] [hybrid] [Matrix] [Prophecy] [Rassilon] [time lords] [time war]

12 PM

Click here to view the embedded video.Hemant Mehta is among several who have noted the above video, which features a couple of pranksters in the Netherlands putting a “Holy Qur’an” cover on a Bible and then stopping people in the street,... [Bible] [Christianity] [bias] [Dutch] [Golden Rule] [Interviews] [Islam] [Netherlands] [prejudice] [Qur'an]


The quote above comes from a post by Richard Beck. Here’s what follows immediately after:Protestantism was created when Martin Luther was asked to recant his teachings at the Diet of Worms, asked to submit to the magisterium (teaching authority) of ... [Progressive Christianity] [protestantism]

December 4, 7AM

While it could be argued that anyone will sound like Yoda if you rearrange their sentences in the characteristic way, Tim Suttle still seems to be onto something when he singles out these quotes as having a Yoda-like quality to them:“The mark of spirit... [humor] [Progressive Christianity] [Star Wars] [J. J. Abrams] [Joseph Campbell] [monomyth] [Quotes] [Thomas Merton] [Tim Suttle] [Yoda]


The quote comes from a recent post by Sarah Bessey, “Blessed are the Ones With Questions.” Click through to read the whole thing.I don’t think we give enough credit to the ones with questions. Oftentimes they are simply saying out loud what ... [Progressive Christianity] [questions] [quote] [Sarah Bessey]

December 3, 2PM

The Mike Luckovich cartoon above should help explain (to the deliberately obtuse who claim not to understand) why people who say “stop praying and do something” are not opposed to prayer per se, but are saying yet again that prayer without act... [politics] [Progressive Christianity] [control] [gun] [killing] [laws] [Murder] [Prayer] [San Bernardino] [shaming] [Shooting] [shootings]



I must confess that I didn’t even notice the little tag at the bottom of the image above when I shared it. I was treating it as an anonymous internet statement, and thought it made a point worth sharing.But having been asked about it, I feel the n... [information literacy] [politics] [Ebola] [Jusset Research Institute] [parody] [satire] [stochastic] [terrorism]


This cartoon from PHD Comics will help you tell the difference, while also noticing the similarities. [Academia] [humor] [Star Wars] [cartoon] [comic] [funny] [Jedi] [PhD] [Professors]


The point that the story of Jesus’ birth in Luke doesn’t have an “inn” in it has been given the Matrix treatment by Jeff Carter.  [gospel of luke] [The Matrix] [Birth] [infancy] [inn] [Jeff Carter] [Matrix]


The cartoon above came to my attention via Daily Kos. Brice Jones recently wrote a blog post about Stephen Carlson’s argument regarding the mistranslation “inn” in Luke’s infancy narrative. That in turn builds on the case that Kenn... [gospel of luke] [Gospel of Matthew] [politics] [Christmas] [Donald Trump] [historicity] [Hospitality] [infancy] [inn] [Kenneth Bailey] [narratives] [refugees] [Stephen Carlson]

December 2, 4AM

Libby Anne shared some examples of the different framing of events in the media. White survivors of hurricane Katrina were described as having “found bread,” while black survivors were described as “looters.” And while anyone with... [news] [hurricane] [Katrina] [Planned Parenthood] [Shooting] [terrorism]

December 1, 4AM

November 30, 2PM

The above photo came to my attention on Facebook. It is a very clever way of making the point about how much computers have changed over the past 58 years. The photo at the top is the first delivery of a computer. The photo at the bottom has one that has... [Technology] [computers] [delivery] [electronic] [Elliott] [England] [first] [Norwich] [years]


It has been funny to see what atheists have had to say about the Seven Tenets posted online by a Satanic Temple. You can read them below. What is interesting to me is the way these newly-minted tenets of a newly-minted religious group are used as a basi... [atheism] [Progressive Christianity] [Anton LaVey] [atheists] [Bible] [Christianity] [Christians] [Hemant Mehta] [Jews] [John Loftus] [Judaism] [Liberal] [Satan] [Satanism] [Supernatural] [superstition] [Valerie Tarico]


After having a discussion here at Exploring Our Matrix in which an atheist insisted that there cannot be atheist fundamentalists because atheists reject all dogmas, it was interesting to see Harry McCall dogmatically insist what atheists “must asse... [atheism] [mythicism] [Christianity] [debunking] [dogma] [dogmatic] [Harry McCall] [historians] [mythicists] [scholars]

November 29, 11AM

This episode begins with a monologue about the sense of life being lived in constant threat of danger and death. The Doctor thinks about Clara’s death, and is angry in a way that we have rarely seen. The Doctor has been brought to a castle, but with... [Doctor Who] [afterlife] [Clara Oswald] [death] [fear] [Gallifrey] [heaven] [human] [hybrid] [mother] [mythology] [theology]


Due to the AAR/SBL conference and Thanksgiving, I am more than a week behind in blogging about the latest Doctor Who episodes. And so I will get caught up with two blog posts today – and then will soon get back to finishing off my blogging through t... [Atonement] [Doctor Who] [Ashildr] [Clara Oswald] [death] [episode] [Penal Substitution] [quantum] [raven] [Rigsy] [substitutionary]


Via Chris Spinks. It has some typos, and awkwardly places the period before the end of the sentence (I have a lot of students who do that when ending with a parenthetical citation, too). But it still seems useful. [philosophy] [debate] [logic] [Ten Commandments]

November 28, 4AM

And Jesus said to her, “It is not appropriate to take the birds’ food and throw it to the squirrels.”The Syrophoenician woman replied, “But sir, even the squirrels eat seeds that fall from the birds’ feeder!”People with... [Uncategorized] [birds] [birdseed] [Canaanite] [gospel] [humor] [jesus] [parable] [squirrel] [squirrels] [Syrophoenician] [updated] [woman]

November 27, 5PM

Click here to view the embedded video.Paul Levinson recently shared the video above on his blog, which is a lecture explaining the rationale for the forthcoming book, Touching the Face of the Cosmos: On the Intersection of Space Travel and Religion. This ... [astronomy] [religion] [science fiction] [astronauts] [Paul Levinson] [spaceflight]


This cartoon has been making the rounds. It is a pity that some are treating it as a condemnation of Christians, when it clearly is a condemnation of a group that I think ought to be labeled CINA: “Christians in Name Only.” If you fear others,... [Christianity] [Fundamentalism] [cartoon] [Christian] [comic] [compromise] [Conservative] [fake] [fundamentalist] [fundamentalists] [name] [Values]


Rick Brannan and Chris Brady both shared their papers from this year's Blogger and Online Publication session at SBL. Bart Ehrman shared his thoughts about the session, in which he was a panelist. And Tony Burke shared his perspective, having been in... [Academia] [biblioblogging] [education] [Society of Biblical Literature] [#AARSBL] [#aarsbl15] [Bart D. Ehrman] [Bart Ehrman] [bibliobloggers] [blog] [Blogger] [bloggers] [blogging] [Christian Brady] [Daniel Gullotta] [Lawrence Schiffman] [Rick Brannan] [SBL] [Wil Gafney]

November 26, 4AM

I recently found myself reminded of the famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”And for some reason, it occurred to me to reverse the phrase. And when I did so, I found that it made more sense.One can talk about a supposed future... [Fundamentalism] [anger] [angry] [Jonathan Edwards] [Puritans] [sermon] [sinners]

November 25, 4AM

When Mike Kok shared a classroom handout which included the criteria for inclusion in the New Testament canon back in August, I created a draft post, to remind myself to come back to the canon game that I talked about wanting to make. Ultimately, the iss... [Bible] [education] [games] [canon] [canonicity] [card] [cards] [game] [gamification]

November 24, 11AM

  “There has only been one time in American history where the fear of refugees coming to wipe out the people here actually came true, and we'll be celebrating it this Thursday.”-John Oliver  [politics]


November 23, 11AM

Traditions or Eastern Late Antiquity co-sponsored a session with the SBL section on Religious Worlds of Late Antiquity, focused on exploring and problematizing the phenomena that have been labeled “Christianization” and “Islamicization.&... [American Academy of Religion] [Christianity] [Islam] [Society of Biblical Literature] [#aarsbl15] [Christian] [Eastern] [Islamic] [late antiquity] [Muslim]
The SBL student advisory board put together a wonderful luncheon with great speakers who gave great advice. The funniest was when one speaker, who had become a dean, shared what a colleague told him: now that you are a dean, in two years you will stop wri... [Academia] [education] [Society of Biblical Literature] [#aarsbl15] [academics] [Advice] [students]


One important element in the decision to bring the Blogger and Online Publication program unit to an end was the fact that the Digital Humanities program unit was open to folding our area within theirs. Indeed, they invited me to join their steering commi... [Archaeology] [Technology] [digital] [humanities] [images] [scroll] [scrolls]


The Society of Biblical Literature has made a number of papers from a 2010 session on the question “What is Bible?” available online. Since I explored the nature of canons in my own paper, this seems like an appropriate time to highlight this.... [Bible] [Society of Biblical Literature] [Annual Meeting] [conference] [discussion] [mp3] [recordings]

November 22, 7PM

It was a fantastic event, and I will let the pictures speak for themselve