The Biblioblog Reference Library

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

March 20 2018, 3AM

I received an e-mail from a blog reader a while back, and have long meant to share it here in case others found it – and my reply – interesting. Dear Dr McGrath I have been a follower of your blog for a while now, always enjoyed hearing your o... [Progressive Christianity] [hope] [panentheism] [resurrection]

March 19, 3AM

One of the questions that I ask students in my course on the Bible and music is “what does crucifixion sound like?” We survey a range of treatments of the passion story that involve music, including straight settings of biblical text, classic ... [music] [Crucifixion] [film] [jesus] [score] [soundtrack]

March 18, 2AM

There was quite a bit of discussion a while back about whether the Muslim God and the Christian God are the “same God.” I had said a little about the topic in some posts written at that time. But now I want to explore some related questions... [Christianity] [Islam] [Christian] [jesus] [Muslim]

March 17, 2AM

When this was shared on Facebook, the following question was posed in a comment: Did God banish Satan because he thought dinosaurs were better, or because Satan used poor grammar? While I could have just shared this bit of humor and been done with it, I a... [Roman Catholicism] [cartoon] [Catholics] [Creation] [dinosaurs] [Immaculate Conception] [mary] [Monotheism] [Satan]

March 16, 2AM

The episode starts with doctors harvesting organs. We hear a snippet of talk radio about chemtrails, and then get to see a vampire hunter, who uses biblical and other Christian religious language, praying for mercy and crossing herself. In the Cathedral o... [Roman Catholicism] [X-Files] [Catholicism] [faith] [Prayer] [vampire] [X Files]

March 15, 2AM

April DeConick shared this information about a conference that is coming up very soon – in less than two weeks, in fact! Gnostic America Conference I am pleased to announce the Gnostic America Conference.  We will convene at Rice University on Marc... [Academia] [Gnosticism] [April De Conick] [April DeConick] [conference] [Gnosis] [Gnostic] [Gnostics] [Mysticism] [Rice University]

March 14, 2AM

Recently, Adam Kotsko blogged about Star Trek and canon (a subject of ongoing interest of mine, as you are undoubtedly well aware). Here is an excerpt from there: I am a Star Trek fan, and I’m here today to talk to you about canon. But I will warn all... [Star Trek] [Adam Kotsko] [canon] [fandom]

March 13, 2AM

Tom Gauld’s cartoon from The Guardian is about a topic that I have understandably long been fascinated by, given my joint interests in history (in particular that of early Christianity) and time travel. It struck me anew as the TV show TIMELESS ret... [history] [science fiction] [cartoon] [future] [historians] [past] [professor] [time travel] [Tom Gauld]

March 12, 3AM

The Material of Christian Apocrypha University of Virginia November 30 to December 1, 2018 Confirmed speakers: Mary Cunningham (Nottingham), Maria Evangelatou (University of Southern California), Derek Krueger (UNC Greensboro), and Robin Jensen (Notre Da... [Call for Papers] [apocrypha] [Call for Papers] [conference] [NASSCAL] [Tony Burke]

March 11, 2AM

I ended up not blogging right away about the week before last’s episode of The X-Files, not because it wasn’t engaging (it relates directly to a research area of mine, after all!) but because it had very little dialogue, and its one main point... [artificial intelligence] [X-Files] [AI] [X Files]

March 10, 3AM

Recently Brandon Hawk shared his thoughts on the Medieval manuscript prototypes for the insides of the Jedi sacred texts we see in “The Last Jedi” – with lots of photos of both! Here is an image of some sample pages from the Jedi scriptu... [Archaeology] [Libraries] [Star Wars] [archaeologists] [church] [Church Signs] [Darth Vader] [funny] [librarians] [library] [pastor] [Rogue One] [sign] [signs]

March 9, 3AM

The title of this X-Files episode, “Familiar,” is a perfect pun. The episode explores the idea of a witch’s familiar, but also the familiar unleashing of more mundane evil in small town America. The episode plays on the creepiness of cha... [X-Files] [children] [Mr. Chuckleteeth] [Pedophiles] [Teletubbies] [witch hunts] [witchcraft] [X Files]

March 8, 4AM

It is long overdue for me to highlight this particular publishing opportunity for undergraduates. If there is something that my own institution does well, it is undergraduate research. In addition to having vibrant programs in fields such as psychology in... [Academia] [Call for Papers] [Butler Undergraduate Research Journal] [Butler University] [Call for Papers] [conference] [journal] [research] [undergraduate] [Undergraduate Research Conference]

March 7, 3AM

I love teaching my course on the Bible and music! In the class period dedicated to the Exodus, we ranged through so many subjects, across thousands of years. We started off in Exodus 15, thinking about the “Song of the Sea” and the way music w... [Exodus] [movies] [music] [aaron] [Arnold Schoenberg] [Aron] [atonality] [Creeping Death] [Metallica] [Moses] [slavery] [spirituals] [Ten Commandments] [twelve tone] [Wade in the Water]

March 6, 4AM

I am delighted to be able to share information about this upcoming event at Butler University. You can find a poster of the above image in pdf form online on the Congregation Beth El-Zedeck website. Here are some additional details taken from the blurbs a... [Judaism] [New Testament] [Amy-Jill Levine] [Butler University] [parables]

March 5, 4AM

I have been meaning to blog about this topic ever since Hemant Mehta pointed out that there were young-earth creationists who were mocking flat-earthers for taking the Bible too literally. That hypocrisy continues, as Answers in Genesis just recently post... [evolution] [science] [young-earth creationism] [cosmology] [literalism] [YEC]

March 4, 3AM

Most readers of this blog will know that in March I stepped into an administrative role as Faculty Director of the Core Curriculum at Butler University. Even before that time – but much more since – I have been giving a lot of thought to some... [education] [core] [Curriculum] [university]

March 3, 3AM

Kerry Connelly writes: One of the things that’s most surprising about my seminary journey is the way my faith is being deconstructed. To be honest, sometimes it feels as if God is dying, and perhaps this is true. What I mean is this: old, tired ways of ... [Progressive Christianity] [faith] [Patheos] [religion]

March 2, 4AM

Somehow if one Googles “piccolo” the top result will tell you that “Piccolo is a very tall and muscular Namekian…” For those interested in the musical instrument, some results along those lines do also follow shortly after. T... [music] [Daniel Dorff] [piccolo] [sonatina]

March 1, 4AM

Anyone who has learned a language has worked with vocabulary lists. Sometimes these are provided in a textbook, chapter by chapter and/or in an appendix. Sometimes these are handwritten and carried around in our pockets for convenience of review in betwee... [Hebrew] [Language] [Linguistics] [vocabulary]

February 28, 4AM

The Pantheism and Panentheism Project, funded by the John Templeton Foundation, welcomes applications for summer stipends from scholars and writers who wish to spend the summer writing a paper for publication in a peer-reviewed academic journal, a reputab... [Call for Papers] [panentheism] [John Templeton] [Templeton Foundation]

February 27, 4AM

There is a lot of music about King David, the Biblical character, as well as much more that purports to be by him. My most recent discovery in this subgenre is by Greek composer Eleni Karandraiou, and it is especially interesting, since it is a setting... [music] [David] [Greek]

February 26, 3AM

A while back I had someone appeal to the text in Revelation about being lukewarm as part of their attempt to bolster a false antithesis. What I should have pointed out in response (but alas failed to at the time) is that there are more than two ways to ... [Revelation] [atheists] [cold] [Donald Trump] [Evangelicals] [excluded middle] [false antithesis] [hot] [lukewarm] [politics] [predestination] [Revelation]

February 25, 3AM

Someone I know drew my attention to an exhibit at the Micro Wonder Museum near Budapest in Hungary, precisely because one of the minuscule works of art is an Egyptian scene – specifically, camels and a pyramid – in the eye of a needle: I am ce... [gospel of mark] [biblical literalism] [camel] [fly] [jesus] [literalism] [metaphor] [needle] [pigs]
I am sure I am not alone in not expecting theological insight from PZ Meyers. But lately he has been sharing things that are on target, and in one recent post in particular, he focuses in on a topic of crucial theological and scientific importance, and on... [science] [clone] [Cloning] [jesus] [PZ Meyers] [science fiction] [Shroud of Turin]

February 24, 4AM

I am really delighted to have had the chance to watch the first three episodes of the brand new CBS series “Living Biblically” and then to talk with the show’s executive producer Patrick Walsh about it. Readers of this blog will know tha... [Bible] [CBS] [literalism] [Living Biblically] [sitcom] [Television] [TV]

February 23, 3AM

Last November at SBL in Boston, I had the privilege of sitting down with filmmaker Rob Orlando twice. One of those meetings was planned, and saw me in front of a green screen wearing makeup (more about that later and on future occasions). The other was se... [movies] [Paul and his letters] [apostle] [Documentary] [Paul] [Paul the Apostle] [Robert Orlando]

February 22, 3AM

Jeff Carter has a book coming out, which is on a theme that readers of this blog should recognized, since I have highlighted his biblical limericks here before. Here is one that I highlighted precisely because it was inspired by a blog post of mine, which... [Bible] [book] [endorsement] [Jeff Carter] [Limerick] [limericks] [poetry]

February 21, 3AM

Bruce Gerencser writes: What kind of God allows children to be murdered, all because his adult followers aren’t allowed to proselytize public school students? What a vindictive, petty God this is, akin to a man who burns down a house with his ex-wife an... [atheism] [Prayer] [school] [schools] [Shooting] [theology]

February 20, 3AM

I’m going to share links to several articles and blog posts here that I think will be of interest to readers of this blog. The first couple are ones that I actually was involved in directly, starting with a podcast interview for the series “Ca... [Technology] [ethics] [Skype] [Uber]

February 19, 4AM

 The video above is from the most recent public lecture in this year’s Butler Seminar on Religion in Global Affairs, which featured Miguel A. De La Torre of Iliff School of Theology and John McCullough of Church World Service. I highly recommend ... [racism] [Church World Service] [Immigration] [John McCullough] [Miguel De La Torre]

February 18, 3AM

I remember the scene in the movie The Mission in which one of the characters responds to the statement “thus is the world” by saying “no, thus have we made the world – thus have I made it.” I wonder whether we do the same t... [Academia] [administration] [humanities] [power] [social sciences] [university]

February 17, 4AM

I really enjoyed learning from student blog posts not only what they are finding engaging in my class on the Bible and music, but also what they are finding frustrating. One example of the latter was my mentioning in passing of historical questions, doubt... [Bible] [Gospel of John] [music] [director] [filmmaker] [gospels] [Lumo Project] [movies]

February 16, 4AM

I actually had a draft post for a while, planning to blog about hell and Jesus, which was called “Christians approach hell (and Jesus) from different angles.” But then the image below came my way via Facebook, and it not only prompted me to re... [afterlife] [Benjamin Corey] [Benjamin L. Corey] [Christian] [Christianity] [Dante] [hell] [Ian Paul] [Liberal] [progressive]

February 15, 3AM

This pithy statement came to my attention via Facebook but originated with Ian Panth on Twitter: “The Ark is an abattoir of Scripture in the guise of a shrine.” There are other things in the Ark that will make you stop and stare like the utter... [young-earth creationism] [Ark Encounter]

February 14, 3AM

The X-Files episode “Kitten” does something that many episodes in the rebooted series have done, namely delved deeper into the backstory of major characters to explore how those experiences shaped them. In this case, the focus is on Walter Ski... [X-Files] [faith] [Walter Skinner] [X Files]

February 12, 10PM

The season one finale of Star Trek: Discovery brought the major arcs of the season to a satisfying conclusion, while also leaving us eager to see what happens next. Spoilers ahead! Early in the episode, we see that Michael Burnham is not simply going to g... [Star Trek] [Discovery] [original] [season finale] [Series] [U. S. S. Enterprise]


I had the opportunity to make a guest appearance at one session of this year-long workshop for local artists, talking about creation in the Genesis 2-3 creation account as received and interpreted in Christian and Gnostic sources. The works that the artis... [art] [Genesis] [music] [religion] [Adam] [Creation] [Eve] [poetry] [Sandy Sasso]

February 11, 3AM

This call for papers for the AAR annual meeting in November is worth sharing here, falling as it does at the intersection of religion and science fiction: Transposition of Religious and Theological Concepts Through Worldbuilding I am working to organize ... [American Academy of Religion] [Call for Papers] [religion] [science fiction] [AAR] [Call for Papers] [popular culture] [worldbuilding]

February 10, 3AM

I recently shared a poster for one of our calls for papers. Time for another: You can also find the text of the call for papers on both the SBL (Digital Humanities) and AAR (Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity) web pages. Online Resources and Traditions ... [American Academy of Religion] [Mandaeans] [Society of Biblical Literature] [AAR] [Annual Meeting] [Book of John] [Call for Papers] [Community] [conference] [digital humanities] [Mandaean] [SBL]

February 9, 3AM

I recently spoke with Jim Lebans of the Canadian Broadcasting Company about religion and the singularity. Here is the program they put together: It is fascinating to hear the result, as they brought together not only my own conversation but that of other ... [book review] [science fiction] [theology]

February 8, 3AM

Workshop: Linked Data and Syriac Sources Amsterdam, 12–13 March 2018   With the generous support of the Van Moorsel en Rijnierse Foundation, the Eep Talstra Centre for Bible and Computer (ETCBC) will organize a workshop on Linked Data and Syriac Source... [syriac] [digital humanities] [workshop]

February 7, 3AM

Someone said to me recently that they are not sure that we are happier with our new technology than we were decades ago playing in the dirt. It struck me that when I was playing in the dirt as a child, I was often imagining that I had technology like what... [Technology] [busy] [cell phones] [iPhones] [Life] [phones] [Prophecy]

February 6, 3AM

The latest episode of Star Trek: Discovery has so much about it that is fantastic, from its earliest moments to its final seconds. Much of the story focuses on the presence of the emperor of the Terran Empire in the mirror universe, who is having trouble ... [morality] [Star Trek] [Discovery] [federation] [Klingon] [Kronos] [starbase] [Starfleet] [suicide bombing]

February 5, 3AM

The digital poster above is seeking to promote the call for papers for the American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting that will be held in Denver, Colorado in November.  Here is the complete text of the call for this one particular session that is being... [American Academy of Religion] [Call for Papers] [Society of Biblical Literature] [AAR] [Call for Papers] [Denver] [digital humanities] [jesus] [polemic] [SBL]

February 4, 4AM

I thought for sure that I had blogged at some point about Bob MacDonald’s book The Song in the Night, but apparently not, and I am now rather embarrassed by that fact. His work has made an important contribution to my course on the Bible and music ... [music] [Psalms] [Bob MacDonald] [David Mitchell] [Suzanne Haik-Vantoura] [Tonus Peregrinus]

February 3, 3AM

From an article by Wayne Stauffer in Inside Higher Ed: As long as students put off doing writing assignments until almost too late, do not study the course material as well as they should, have low confidence in their academic abilities, settle for doing ... [education] [Plagiarism] [students]

February 2, 3AM

This album is one that I owned on record years ago, and when I ceased to continue to maintain a phonograph and a record collection, I ceased to be able to listen to its music any longer. Several of the pieces on the album are haunting and deeply moving. [Judaism] [music] [choir] [Jewish] [Zemel Choir]

February 1, 3AM

I could probably add some sort of semi-serious text here to try to turn the above into a mere hook or jumping off point for engaging some topic related to Moses, the Exodus, historical and archaeological investigation, or something else. But I won’... [Exodus] [humor] [bad puns] [funny] [Moses] [Osmoses] [science]

January 31, 3AM

I wasn’t aware until just recently about this conference in the summer here in Indiana, on a topic that I know will interest many blog readers as much as it interests me: religion in the anthropocene. The deadline has been extended, and so this is a... [Call for Papers] [anthropocene] [Call for Papers] [Indiana] [Indiana University] [religion]

January 30, 4AM

The Star Trek: Discovery episode “What’ Past Is Prologue” offers a powerful message for our time, with political and religious engagement that struck me as on-target without being heavy handed. Paul Stamitz in the parallel universe apparently sold L... [Star Trek] [Discovery] [empire]

January 29, 3AM

Setting of three Psalms by Canadian composer Srul Irving Glick. I continue to come across music that I do not recall having heard before as I teach my course on the Bible and music once again. [music] [Psalms] [Srul Irving Glick]

January 28, 3AM

This looks like a really interesting call for papers! The Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness: Religion, Activism, and Protest Too often, especially in the United States today, religion is seen as the enemy of socio-political progress and change. But ev... [Call for Papers] [activism] [conference] [religion]

January 27, 4AM

January 26, 3AM

The X-Files episode “The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat” embodies everything that was great about the classic series, in more ways than one. The classic series never took its conspiracy theories and aliens among us stories so seriously that it cou... [X-Files] [conspiracies] [Conspiracy theorists] [Dana Scully] [Dr. They] [Fox Mulder] [memories] [memory] [Mengele Effect] [Reginald Murgatroid] [Shazaam] [X Files]

January 25, 3AM

January 24, 4AM

The Star Trek: Discovery episode “Vaulting Ambition” has a discussion early on about the fact that Emperor Georgiou is not the same person that Michael Burnham betrayed in her universe. But she say that it nonetheless “feels like a recko... [Uncategorized]

January 23, 3AM

I love sharing new music from lots of sources, but you may be able to guess that this is one that I am especially excited about. This is my son’s composition, an “Adagio for Flute and Two Violins,” which he wrote for this ensemble at his... [music] [Adagio] [Alex McGrath] [composition] [flute] [recital] [violin] [violins]

January 22, 4AM

This page from a children’s Bible, which a friend shared on Facebook, seems to me a perfect illustration of the distortion that so-called “biblical literalists” regularly engage in. They decide what the Bible is allowed to mean (in this ... [Gospel of John] [biblical literalism] [Cana] [children] [grape juice] [Wine]

January 21, 4AM

Emma Higgs has been continuing her excellent blog series, Faith in the Fog. Here is an excerpt from her post “Good Religion, Bad Religion”: There have been moments in history where humans have experienced something so far beyond their existi... [Progressive Christianity] [theology] [Emma Higgs] [God] [indescribable] [mystery]

January 20, 3AM

Scott McLemee has written a review of Candida Moss and Joel Baden’s book Bible Nation for Inside Higher Ed. Here is an excerpt: Nothing in the book impugns the Greens’ motives; while donating their collection to the nonprofit museum has unde... [Bible] [book review] [Candida Moss] [Hobby Lobby] [Joel Baden]

January 19, 4AM

A while back in my Sunday school class, I sought to challenge the idea that anyone takes the Bible literally, by focusing on some of the things that Jesus says about topics like poverty and possessions. We started with Jesus’ saying about a camel pa... [gospel of luke] [Gospel of Matthew] [beatitudes] [Luke] [Matthew] [poor] [rich] [woe]

January 18, 4AM

As we gear up for the next public lecture in the series, let me share the video recording of the second public lecture in this year’s Butler Seminar on Religion and Global Affairs. It features Jan Holton’s keynote address, responses from my co... [Travel] [africa] [Butler University] [refugees]

January 17, 4AM

Walk a Mile in a Refugee’s Shoes from COIN on Vimeo. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE From: Coalition for Our Immigrant Neighbors    COIN Releases “Walk a Mile” Documentary The Coalition for Our Immigrant Neighbors brought together over 400 people at its... [movies] [Documentary] [Immigrants] [refugees] [simulation]

January 16, 4AM

Early in the episode, Burnham reflects on whether it is possible to suppress one’s decency, as she needs to in the parallel universe, without it radically transforming you. She observes that they are human, with the same drives, in both universes. Tyl... [Star Trek] [parallel universe]

January 15, 4AM

My review of the book Just Immigration: American Policy in Christian Perspective by Mark R. Amstutz has appeared online on Reading Religion. Here is an excerpt: I think that most readers, irrespective of their specific viewpoints, will appreciate Amstutz... [book review] [evangelical] [Immigration]

January 14, 4AM

The second episode of season 11 of the X-Files is simply called “This.” There are lots of criticisms that one could make of it – people involved in a global conspiracy that Mulder previously spent countless years trying to penetrate now ... [afterlife] [X-Files] [computer] [Dana Scully] [eternal life] [Fox Mulder] [heaven] [Richard Langly] [Ringo] [simulation] [X Files]

January 13, 4AM

As a Baptist, you are probably surprised that I would even ask a question like this, or alternatively, you might assume that I’d ask it only to answer quickly in the negative. But I’d rather take a bit more time to get beyond the obvious surfa... [Methodism] [Biblicism] [biblicists] [John Wesley] [Methodist] [quadrilateral] [scripture] [Wesleyan]

January 12, 3AM

Esteban Vázquez wrote a blog post not long ago, reflecting on a decade of biblioblogging on his part: Biblioblogdom, as it once was, has ceased to exist. Which isn’t to say that no one is blogging about the Bible and theology—far from it! (Witness t... [biblioblogging] [Biblioblogs] [blogging] [blogs]

January 11, 4AM

I thought this call for papers was worth sharing for at least two reasons. One is that the topic itself is an important one: diversity in the classroom. Here is an excerpt from the call for papers: A key principle of global citizenry is recognizing the po... [Call for Papers] [Call for Papers] [classroom] [Diversity]

January 10, 3AM

Steve Wiggins wrote in a recent blog post: The modern Evangelical movement no longer adheres to the teachings of the carpenter from Nazareth. The issues on which he spoke plainly and repeatedly have been relabeled as “liberal” and therefore evil. If ... [Evangelicals] [politics] [shepherds]

January 9, 4AM

In the episode “Despite Yourself,” the USS Discovery finds itself in a different universe. The captain mentions that the possibility that the mycelial network connects to other universes was something that he and Stamets had discussed, once again sugg... [Star Trek] [Discovery] [parallel universe]

January 8, 4AM

If your faith is so fragile it cannot handle questions, doubts, and honest inquiry, if it is so threatened by the full engagement of your heart & mind it runs from potential challenges, that’s not faith; it’s fear. — Rachel Held Evans (@rachelhe... [Progressive Christianity] [faith] [fear] [Rachel Held Evans]

January 7, 4AM Special Issue CFP: Music, Sound, and the Aurality of the Environment in the Anthropocene: Spiritual and Religious Perspectives Guest Editor, Kate Galloway (Wesleyan Universi... [Call for Papers] [music] [religion] [Call for Papers] [journal] [Yale] [Yale University]

January 6, 3AM

The author of a recent article was much more impressed than I was with an AI’s vaguely biblesque-sounding blather. Here is one example of what the AI mentioned in the article came up with: And let thy companies deliver thee; but will with mine ow... [artificial intelligence] [AI] [Bible] [God] [religion]

January 5, 4AM

The return of the X-Files for its new season was fascinating as it combined its classic conspiracy theory themes with up-to-date connections with current politics, science denialism, and fake news. The irony, of course, is that conspiracy theories are the... [X-Files] [alien] [Chris Carter] [cigarette] [Cigarette Smoking Man] [conspiracies] [conspiracy] [conspiracy theories] [CSM] [Dana Scully] [fake news] [father] [Fox Mulder] [man] [smoking] [son] [William] [X Files]

January 4, 3AM

Until relatively recently, I had no idea that there was such a word as “Wikipediatrician.” But having come across it, I was inspired to revisit the question of how to view this widely-used source as an educator. The term is used by some to ... [information literacy] [science] [intuition] [knowing] [Wikipedia]

January 3, 3AM

I was blown away by the 2017 Doctor Who Christmas special, “Twice Upon a Time, written by Steven Moffat. It begins with “Previously on Doctor Who” followed not by a recap of the last episode, but “709 Episodes Ago” and both original footage and... [Doctor Who] [Bill Potts] [Clara Oswald] [Dalek] [Daleks] [Jodie Whittacre] [Lethbridge-Stewart] [Patrick Troughton] [Peter Capaldi] [regeneration] [Steven Moffat] [Steven Moffatt] [William Hartnell]

January 2, 4AM

I’ve come across calls for papers, presentations, book chapters, and a variety of other things before, but this is the first “call for games” that I’ve encountered, and so I thought I’d share it: Call for Games deadline for s... [Call for Papers] [games] [Call for Papers] [journal]

December 31 2017, 9PM

I wish all readers of this blog a very happy start to 2018! [inspirational] [2018]


The Anthropological Study of Religious and Religion-Themed Mobile Apps (a call for book chapters): [Call for Papers] [Apps] [Call for Papers] [religion] [Technology]

December 30, 4AM

The Bible does not literally say anything, because books do not literally talk, and the Bible as an anthology certainly doesn’t speak with a single voice even metaphorically. Jim Manchester said the words in the meme on Facebook, when sharing my bl... [Bible] [Biblical] [biblical literalism] [literalism] [literalists]

December 29, 3AM

I received this call for papers and thought I should pass it on, since I now there are blog readers who will be interested in it: We are pleased to announce the Conference on Religious and Philosophical Conversion in Ancient Mediterranean Traditions (CoRP... [Call for Papers]

December 28, 3AM

Jonathan Bernier wrote in a comment on Facebook: In my experience, when it comes to biblical studies, “skeptic” is frequently code for “credulous towards heterodox claims.” That seemed like such an excellent succinct summary of the irony of so muc... [atheism] [religion] [skeptic] [skepticism]

December 27, 3AM

A number of posts around the blogosphere have touched on this topic that has long been of great interest to me. To start with, Mark Ganville writes in his review of Lester Grabbe’s book 1 & 2 Kings: Grabbe traces the development of monotheistic... [Monotheism] [attributes] [Christology] [Divinity] [figurines] [God] [idolatry] [idols] [omniscience] [open theism]

December 26, 4AM

A while back I was told that there is a Wikipedia game “Seven Steps to Jesus” which resembles the better-known “Seven Degrees of Separation” game involving Kevin Bacon. (And for those keeping count, you will recall that my “... [information literacy] [degrees] [jesus] [Kevin Bacon] [separation] [seven] [Wikipedia]

December 24, 10PM

Merry Christmas to my blog readers! And please do like and/or follow my page on Facebook for more details! [humor] [cartoon] [Christmas] [Facebook] [Santa]


“His Light In Us” by Kim André Arnesen is a piece intended for Christmas, although its lyrics do not restrict it to this time of year. Here is an excerpt from the lyrics, from the composer’s website: God’s distant call flares in the n... [music] [choir] [choral] [Christmas] [Holocaust]

December 23, 4AM

Reading is Believing? Sacred Texts in a Scientific Age CALL FOR PAPERS Academic Colloquium The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, in collaboration with the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge Venue: Clare College, Cambridge 26-­‐28 Ma... [Call for Papers] [Call for Papers] [conference] [sacred] [science] [scientific] [scriptures] [texts]

December 22, 3AM

It has been a long while since I radically revised my one-semester course on the Bible to focus on information literacy. The has, however, almost entirely focused on the wise use of sources about the Bible, and not what we can learn about bias and trustw... [Bible] [information literacy] [critical thinking] [education] [fake news] [students]

December 21, 4AM

A recent New York Times opinion piece offers what I think is one of the most insightful analyses of Evangelical support for Donald Trump that I have ever read. Here is an excerpt to whet your appetite, but you really should read the whole thing: LifeWay... [Evangelicals] [politics] [Donald Trump] [Eric Reitan] [evangelicalism] [Fox News]

December 20, 4AM

Something that the Pope said about translations of the Lord’s Prayer has made the news recently, and connects (albeit indirectly) with a subject that I was already planning to blog about. One of my older posts that continues to generate interest an... [Gospel of Matthew] [aramaic] [John Shore] [lord's prayer] [New Age] [Our Father] [paraphrase] [translation]

December 19, 3AM

Doug Chaplin shared the following blue circle plaque that he made for Jesus, of the kind that one finds on important historic and heritage sites around the UK. I like that the plaque states what, historically speaking, we can consider very likely, namely ... [historical Jesus] [Bethlehem] [Birth] [burial] [Church of the Holy Sepulcher] [james tabor] [jesus] [Joseph] [Kyle Roberts] [mary] [Nazareth] [Simon Peter] [tomb]

December 18, 3AM

A lot more has been blogged that relates to the topic of mythicism. I should begin by highlighting the article by Daniel Gullotta which is now available in the Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus. It provoked the kind of response that one wou... [mythicism] [Daniel Gullotta] [Larry Hurtado] [mythicists] [Richard Carrier]

December 17, 3AM

If you thought the sausage roll in the manger in Greggs’ advertising was controversial, I wonder what you will make of this cover from a recent issue of Der Spiegel. I haven’t read the article, which I expect is more about online shopping and shi... [Christology] [] [Anakin Skywalker] [Christmas] [conception] [cover] [German] [Nativity] [Prophecy] [Spiegel] [virginal]

December 16, 3AM

I went to see The Last Jedi yesterday afternoon. This post will contain spoilers. If you have yet to see the movie and wish to experience it without having heard about things that happen during it, this would be a good time to stop reading. Bookmark this ... [Star Wars] [apprentice] [balance] [Force] [Jedi] [Kylo Ren] [leader] [Leia Organa] [Luke Skywalker] [resistance] [Rey] [Sith] [Snoke] [supreme] [Taoism] [Yoda]

December 15, 3AM

I can’t believe I didn’t notice it before. It was there under my (not bright red or shiny) nose, yet I failed to notice it until now. Presumably you have all seen the Christmas decorations purportedly representing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindee... [atheism] [Christmas] [decorations] [ornament] [satire]

December 14, 4AM

This is a really cool conference idea – holding a conference about Vampires in Transylvania, in Romania! It will be held in Sighisoara, which is the birthplace of Vlad Tepes, the historical figure who is regularly associated with Bram Stoker’s... [Call for Papers] [Buffy] [Call for Papers] [conference] [Dracula] [Joss Whedon] [Romania] [Sighisoara] [Transylvania] [vampires]

December 13, 3AM

I assume that other readers of this blog have been surprised by my lack of comment on what others all over the internet have been talking about, namely the new trailers that have been released for The Last Jedi. Things have been incredibly busy, but I am ... [Star Wars] [Theory] [Jedi] [Luke Skywalker] [Millenium Falcon] [movie] [preview] [trailer]

December 12, 3AM

I am ever so grateful to Matthias Henze for allowing me the opportunity to interview him about his new book, Mind the Gap. Here are the questions that I posed to him, followed by his answers: JM: I saw an article in the Times of Israel about your book, t... [book review] [Interview] [jesus] [Judaism]

December 11, 4AM

I decided to break what had been one very long post about two mythicists into two shorter ones (although I will be the first to admit that neither is particularly short, which gives you a sense of why I thought it best to split them). The first was yester... [mythicism] [Earl Doherty] [Jonathan Bernier] [mythicists] [Neil Godfrey] [Richard Carrier] [Vridar]

December 10, 3AM

Larry Hurtado has written an excellent blog post in which he shows that Richard Carrier is simply not telling the truth, not accurate, and not persuasive on a number of topics central to his claims about Jesus. Here is a sample excerpt: The “mythical Je... [mythicism] [celestial] [Christ] [Earl Doherty] [false prophet] [jesus] [Jonathan Bernier] [Larry Hurtado] [reform] [reformer] [Richard Carrier] [Spiritual]

December 9, 3AM

Students at Butler who want to go on the trip to Transylvania, there is still opportunity to do so. Tell your parents that the trip is what you want for Christmas! Here’s some beautiful Romanian Christmas music to help you make your case: Here’... [Romania] [Travel] [Bucharest] [Budapest] [Butler University] [students] [Transylvania]

December 8, 3AM

Even before the announcement was made that the U.S. Embassy in Israel will move to Jerusalem, hints in this direction had already had an impact on the State Department warning regarding travel to israel, which in turn has required me to suspend my s... [Evangelicals] [israel] [politics] [capital] [Jerusalem] [Palestine] [Palestinians]

December 7, 3AM

I was delighted to have the opportunity to see the new movie Darkest Hour  before it opens in theaters tonight. I had been looking forward to seeing it, ever since I first saw publicity about it showing Gary Oldman, with prosthetics and makeup to turn hi... [movies] [politics] [Britain] [fake news] [Gary Oldman] [God] [movie] [religion] [Review] [Winston Churchill]

December 6, 3AM

Wishing all readers of this blog a happy December 6th, the feast of St. Nicholas! [humor] [theology] [homoousios] [Nicholas of Myra] [St. Nicholas] [St. Nick]

December 5, 4AM

It is one of the most disappointing aspects of conservative Evangelicalism that they are strident and loud about matters like “picking and choosing,” the coming of the “antichrist,” and the dangers of compromising one’s faith... [eschatology] [politics] [Antichrist] [Donald Trump] [Left Behind]

December 4, 3AM

When the above meme was drawn to my attention, I felt I had to share it. The contrast between biblical laws and the Republican tax bill is even starker than the meme from Facebook God indicates. The Torah in fact imposes taxes and tax-like practices that ... [Economics] [Exodus] [Leviticus] [grad students] [know] [Law] [remission] [tax] [taxes] [tuition]

December 3, 3AM

Hemant Mehta shared the image above, suggesting that this is how progressive Christians should advertise in the age of trump. I like it a lot, and yet am troubled by aspects of it. First and foremost, I am disappointed at the sense conveyed that this chur... [Progressive Christianity] [Billboard] [Christian] [Christianity] [church sign] [Conservative] [Liberal] [progressive] [progressive Christian] [Progressive Christianity] [terminology]

December 2, 4AM

Jeremiah Bailey shared a great idea for an activity for students. Give them the nativity creche manger scene and ask them to identify which items come from Matthew and which come from Luke. Perhaps consider giving bonus points for those who realize that s... [gospel of luke] [Gospel of Matthew] [activity] [classroom] [contradictions] [differences] [Nativity] [students]

December 1, 4AM

I got a kick out of this meme, which came my way via Episcopal Church Memes on Facebook. Many people think that the Christmas season ends rather than begins on December 25th. The irony is that we could have both – a vibrant Advent shopping season fo... [humor] [memes] [Advent] [Christmas] [holiday] [meme] [Shopping]

November 30, 4AM

When I shared a post and meme about the classic notion of the academic in an ivory tower recently, I also shared on Facebook some of my own experience that led to my change of perspective. Here is what I wrote: In my own teaching experience, several thing... [Academia] [academics] [impartial] [ivory tower] [Professors] [unbiased]

November 29, 3AM

On the night of November 24th-25th I had what may well be the strangest dream I have ever had. I wanted to write it down so that I remember the details – even though I am sure that some key things had already faded with my waking. The background to ... [afterlife] [academic] [dream] [heaven]

November 28, 4AM

I am overdue to share the trailer for this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special, which will have the title “Twice Upon a Time.” I am very disappointed that it doesn’t seem to continue the running gag in which an earlier Doctor steps into ... [Doctor Who] [Christmas] [regeneration] [TARDIS] [World War I]

November 27, 4AM

Apparently now Richard Carrier has his own Gospel. The video above illustrates just how off-target mythicism is in relation to the evidence. The suggestion that the Gospel of Mark is the first inkling of a biography of Jesus ignores the narrative that Pau... [mythicism] [Richard Carrier]

November 26, 2AM

I am sure you’ve heard by now of about the controversy that the British food store Greggs caused by substituting a sausage roll in place of the baby Jesus in a manger scene. There has been a lot of humor around the topic, however, some of which migh... [Gospel of John] [advertisement] [flesh] [Greggs] [meat] [Meredith Warren] [sausage roll] [Susejd Rol]

November 25, 4AM

Ivy Helman writes in her blog post “Academics and Activism”: Life in an ivory tower would only serve to distance one’s self from activism. Why do such a thing? Then the answer came to me: privilege. One can afford to step back. One can choos... [Academia] [academics] [activism] [Activists] [ivory tower] [privilege]

November 24, 4AM

I’ve shared a number of these kinds of memes and infographics before, and so I thought that it was worth adding this one to the collection. This one is interesting because, without saying so explicitly, it nonetheless leads the reader to the conclus... [Bible] [Greek] [Hebrew] [literalism] [progressive christian newsletter]

November 23, 4AM

    Here’s a piece of music, shared with you for no other reason than that it is breathtakingly beautiful! [music] [Luís de Freitas Branco]

November 22, 4AM

This call for papers will interest some blog readers every bit as much as it interests me: FSNNA Conference: Fandom—Past, Present, Future deadline for submissions: February 15, 2018 full name / name of organization: Fan Studies Network North America con... [Call for Papers] [Call for Papers] [Chicago] [conference] [fandom]

November 21, 9AM

Richard Bautch presented first, and was the first of two papers related to games – the second of which is by me, and I did not take notes during that, obviously, nor will I try the patience of my blog readers by talking about my game again in what... [Bible] [games] [Technology] [canon] [digital humanities]


I wasn’t able to post about yesterday’s Digital Humanities session immediately because of a lack of free wifi, so I saved it for this morning. In the first paper in Monday afternoon’s Digital Humanities session, Hayim Lapin and Yael Netzer spoke ab... [Society of Biblical Literature] [Technology] [database] [digital humanities] [SBL]

November 20, 9AM

I presided over a session this morning about the use of spectral imaging technology to study palimpsests, i.e. the use of invisible ranges of light to be able to see the erased texts in manuscripts that were scraped and reused. The session focused on the ... [American Academy of Religion] [Society of Biblical Literature] [palimpsest] [spectral imaging]

November 18, 10PM

I mentioned in an earlier post that I would be missing both the Durham University reception and the religion bloggers’ gathering yesterday evening (to say nothing of the Enoch Seminar gathering). The reason was an invitation to dinner from Wisam Breegi ... [American Academy of Religion] [Gnosticism] [Mandaeans] [AAR] [Boston]


The session I attended on Saturday morning was part of the Digital Humanities program unit, and was a panel focused on the book Liquid Scripture by Jeffrey Siker. What does it mean to go back to scrolling through Bibles? What happens when the Bible is rea... [Bible] [liquid] [scripture]


I was trying to decide what to focus on in my post about my first day in Boston at the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting, when I saw this comment on one of my posts about Star Trek: Discovery: When interpreting... [American Academy of Religion] [Inerrancy] [Society of Biblical Literature] [Star Trek]

November 17, 2AM

I’m planning on having my blogging over the coming days be about the conference in Boston, this year’s joint annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature. Below are some updates about where to find... [American Academy of Religion] [Society of Biblical Literature] [#AARSBL17] [AAR] [SBL]

November 16, 4AM

I can’t believe that it took me until now to discover the music of Azerbaijani composer Gara Garayev (sometimes spelled Kara Karayev). He was one of Dmitri Shostakovich’s students, but his style is much more in a late Romantic style than his t... [music] [Albania] [Azerbaijan] [composer] [Garayev]

November 15, 4AM

A call for papers that some readers of this blog will be very interested in: This special issue of TWC explores the potential of fan fiction as an interpretative model to study ancient religious texts. Fan fiction writers are readers of texts who become w... [Call for Papers] [ancient] [Call for Papers] [fan fiction] [Frauke Uhlenbruch] [scribal]

November 14, 4AM

The episode begins with Captain Lorca receiving an order from a StarFleet admiral to return to Federation territory rather than engaging the Klingon Ship of the Dead, leaving Pahvo undefended. Instead, he looks for a solution, and they come up with a pla... [Star Trek] [Discovery]

November 13, 4AM

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten teenagers who took their phones and waited for something to happen. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their phones but did not take their charging cables with th... [Gospel of Matthew] [FOMO] [parable] [Teenagers] [virgins]

November 12, 3AM

I’ve been meaning since Peter Gurry blogged about it last year to mention the launch of the online Database of Conjectural Emendations. Just type in a verse or passage and it will inform you about suggestions about other readings that scholars have ... [Greek] [New Testament] [conjectural] [Conjecture] [emendations] [Textual Criticism]

November 11, 3AM

The Center for the Study of Christian Origins shared the news a while back about the launch of the “Jesus and the Gospels Museum” on the University of Edinburgh website. It includes information about a number of sites, manuscripts, and much el... [New Testament] [Edinburgh] [gospels] [jesus] [Museum] [online] [students]

November 10, 3AM

There are two events that I unfortunately cannot attend at AAR/SBL in Boston, but which I want to highlight nonetheless for the benefit of others who may not have the scheduling conflicts that alas will keep me from them. First, there is the Wiki, Women,... [American Academy of Religion] [Society of Biblical Literature] [AAR] [Anthony Le Donne] [book] [dissonance] [Larry Behrendt] [sacred] [SBL] [Wikipedia] [women]

November 9, 4AM

With the proverb “If you want peace, prepare for war” as its title, it isn’t surprising that episode 8 of the first season of Star Trek: Discovery starts with a battle scene, focuses on a plan to overcome the Klingon cloaking device tech... [Star Trek] [Discovery] [Klingons] [peace] [War]

November 8, 4AM

Since today I will be talking about the ethics of driverless cars, I of course was struck by these words in an article about the famous trolley problem: In real life, very few people face trolley problems, unless their job is literally to program collisio... [morality] [philosophy] [ethics] [trolley problem]

November 7, 4AM

Word clouds are not just for fun, as most people who work in the humanities know. They allow us to visualize important information, namely the frequency with which words are used in a particular data set. It can help both with analysis, and with communic... [politics] [Donald Trump] [jesus] [moron] [Murder] [Rhetoric] [terrorism]

November 6, 4AM

I love late Romantic music, and was delighted to have this piano concerto by Hanns Wolf drawn to my attention – and dismayed to learn that most of his compositions were lost in World War II. [music] [composer] [Hanns Wolf] [piano concerto] [War]

November 5, 4AM

I am trying to remember where I read a quote to the effect that the discovery of penicillin saved more lives than Jesus did. Even if we add up all the cures in all the Gospels, and multiply them by a thousand or ten thousand in keeping with the ending of ... [historical Jesus] [Theodicy] [Alexander Fleming] [healing] [jesus] [penicillin]

November 4, 2AM

“In Seven Days” by Thomas Adès is an unusual composition exploring the seven days of creation in Genesis 1-2, not least because it incorporates visual images as part of the composition, along with some more traditional elements that one typic... [Genesis] [music] [Creation] [days] [piano concerto] [seven] [Thomas Adès]

November 3, 3AM

Robert Orlando shared with me that he will be releasing a sequel to his movie Apostle Paul: A Polite Bribe next year, and asked me to share the information below about it. For those who may not remember, I blogged about Apostle Paul: A Polite Bribe twice,... [movies] [Paul and his letters] [bribe] [movie] [polite] [Robert Orlando] [sequel]

November 2, 3AM

A flyer about the PACA (“Pray America Christian Again”) Plan was stuck on the outside door of my church, and the person who found it gave it to me. It is an effort not to simply pray, but to try to get Christians elected in all government posi... [Fundamentalism] [politics] [Christian] [Donald Trump] [fundamentalist] [PACA] [plan]

November 1, 2AM

A recent article on IO9 asked what the most frustrating revision to canon was in a franchise. It was asking about science fiction fandom canons, of course, and focused in on the example of the War Doctor on Doctor Who. But since it did so at a time that c... [Doctor Who] [Judith] [Bob Cargill] [canon] [Change] [Donald Trump] [Holofernes] [North Korea] [Reformation] [tweets] [Twitter] [War Doctor]

October 31, 2AM

Online outlets as different as Forbes and IndieWire agree that Star Trek: Discovery has taken a seriously well-worn stereotyped elements of sci fi, the time loop, and done something not only distinctive but memorable with it. For me, I think it is the r... [Star Trek] [Ash Tyler] [Discovery] [Edge of Tomorrow] [Groundhog Day] [Harcourt Fenton Mudd] [Harry Mudd] [logic] [love] [Michael Burnham] [spore] [temporal loop] [Vulcan]

October 30, 3AM

Brandon Withrow has a new article out, about “The New Religions Obsessed with A.I.” It includes quotes from me and a number of other people who were interviewed. It is unfortunate that Anthony Levandowski declined to provide an interview or comment... [artificial intelligence] [religion] [AI] [Anthony Levandowski] [God] [gods] [Steve Wiggins]

October 29, 2AM

I am so delighted with the poster that my talented colleague Rebecca DeGrazia created for an upcoming brown bag talk that I will be giving at Butler University together with my colleague from computer science, Ankur Gupta. We’ve begun working togeth... [artificial intelligence] [philosophy] [Technology] [Butler University] [Computer Science] [Confucius] [driverless cars] [Isaac Asimov] [laws of robotics] [Socrates]

October 28, 2AM

Have you seen the news that a robot named Sophia was granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia? The ABC News article included the following comments: Sophia appeared on stage alone, without the modest dress required of Saudi women; she donned no hijab, or heads... [artificial intelligence] [buddhism] [Islam] [Buddhist] [Citizenship] [Funeral] [funerary] [Robot] [Saudi Arabia] [Sophia] [women]

October 27, 3AM

There are multiple works by Stephanie Ann Boyd whose titles resonate for those who study ancient literature and religion. Her compositions are extremely accessible, being beautiful without ceasing to be contemporary. Here is “Beyond the Gate”... [music] [concerto] [Sibyl] [Stephanie Ann Boyd] [strings] [violin]

October 26, 3AM

What’s So Funny? Discovering and Interpreting Humor in the Ancient World A conference to be held at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted by email to by 30 November 201... [Call for Papers] [history] [humor] [ancient] [Call for Papers] [conference]

October 25, 3AM

Sy Garte writes: Science is not about amassing evidence to prove a point. That’s what lawyers do. That’s what advocates do, and scientists are not supposed to be advocates. One can always find evidence for or against anything… Evidence is cheap.... [science] [Beatles] [conspiracy theories] [Paul McCartney] [pseudoscience] [skepticism]

October 24, 3AM

The episode introduces us to several continuing stories, providing new information related to each. Sylvia Tilly wants to become a captain and so Michael helps her train. Sarek is confronted by a would-be assassin, a Vulcan suicide bomber who is persuaded... [Star Trek]

October 23, 3AM

October 22, 2AM

The Center for the Study of Christian Origins shared the above video featuring Amy-Jill Levine talking about the parables of Jesus. [gospel of luke] [Gospel of Matthew] [Amy-Jill Levine] [jesus] [parables]

October 21, 2AM

I discovered Paul Stanhope’s music through the Naxos Music Database, which introduced me to his wonderful Concerto for Piccolo and Orchestra. I will include that later in the post. But branching out from there, I discovered other music which interse... [music] [Australian] [Bible] [Biblical] [composer] [Hebrew] [nephesh] [Paul Stanhope] [self] [soul]

October 20, 3AM

In talking with a mythicist on Facebook who seemed blissfully unaware of how nonsensical his stance comes across, the similarity between creationism and mythicism became apparent yet again. Ironically, however, the mythicist tried to claim that in fact it... [mythicism] [young-earth creationism] [creationists] [mythicists]

October 19, 3AM

Even more than a year later, I still have photos and stories to share from last year’s trip to the Holy Land, which I have never shared on this blog. It was such a rich experience that I continue to think about it. And so, if and when I can, I may s... [Travel] [camel] [English] [Jordan] [Petra]

October 18, 2AM

From a post by Adam Ericksen with the title “Mike Pence Is a Devout Christian, but He’s Not Following Christ,” on the Patheos blog Teaching Nonviolent Atonement: The Trump administration is uncomfortable with the truth about racism, so they ... [politics] [theology] [Adam Ericksen] [civil religion] [Donald Trump] [flag] [idolatry] [knee] [Mike Pence] [Paul Tillich] [Protest]

October 17, 3AM

Episode 5 of the first season of Star Trek: Discovery begins with Michael Burnham having a dream in which she, rather than the giant tardigrade, is serving as the link between the ship’s navigation system and its spore drive – causing her inte... [Star Trek] [Discovery] [Harcourt Fenton Mudd] [Michael Burnham] [mycelium] [Rainn Wilson] [spores] [tardigrade]

October 16, 3AM

Let me share my blurb endorsing Kyle Roberts’ new book: In A Complicated Pregnancy, Kyle Roberts offers a dramatic, sincerely honest, and deeply personal exploration of the question of Jesus’ virginal conception. While many other books wrestle... [book review] [incarnation] [jesus] [Kyle Roberts] [mary] [virgin] [Virgin Birth] [virginal conception]

October 15, 2AM

Larry Hurtado, Deane Galbraith, Scot McKnight, and Bob Cornwall are among those who’ve already mentioned a new book that many more contributed to, including myself: Thomas Jay Oord’s edited volume, Theologians and Philosophers Using Social ... [Academia] [book review] [philosophers] [scholars] [social media] [theologians] [Thomas Jay Oord]

October 14, 3AM

I have been a fan of the CRAP test, but a recent article by John Warner in Inside Higher Ed has me rethinking this. The article points out that knowledge and motivation are essential to getting at the truth, and no checklist can effectively substitute for... [information literacy] [fact-checking] [Libraries]

October 13, 2AM

In a recent blog post, Michael Pahl wrote the following about Jesus and “hell”- or rather, Gehenna, a reference to the Hinnom Valley. But what was the significance of that valley? The idea that it was a burning trash heap seems to come into ex... [afterlife] [gehenna] [hell] [jesus] [Michael Pahl]

October 12, 3AM

Jonathan Tweet has shared thoughts about his recent debate with Richard Carrier. Here is an excerpt: While preparing for the debate, I was shocked to find out how insulting Dr Carrier is to other scholars. His negative words about Bart Ehrman were particu... [mythicism] [Bart Ehrman] [debate] [Jonathan Tweet] [mythicists] [Richard Carrier]

October 11, 2AM

The fourth episode of Star Trek: Discovery focuses on a number of points related to perceptions, stereotypes and assumptions, whether on the part of a Klingon who is concerned with purity and refuses to plunder the Shenzhou, or humans who assume that an o... [Star Trek] [Discovery] [navigation] [spores] [Starfleet] [tardigrade]

October 10, 2AM

Does anyone know what happened to all the pages on Facebook (most of which were auto-generated from Wikipedia) about composers? I am sure that I liked a page for Aulis Sallinen at some point years ago on Facebook. Now there seems to be nothing there. I gu... [music] [Aulis Sallinen] [Naxos] [serenade] [string] [sunrise] [Trumpets]

October 9, 2AM

Tim O’Neill, on his blog History for Atheists, has tackled another widely-held misrepresentation, namely that Christians in ancient times typically conspired to destroy and suppress secular and/or “pagan” literature. Here is an excerpt: ... [atheism] [ancient] [atheists] [Books] [church] [LOST] [mythicism] [Pagan]

October 8, 3AM

Doug Chaplin writes: For me, the biggest objection to replacing BC/AD with BCE/CE is that it is fundamentally dishonest. For better or worse, we have a global dating system because the world was pretty much conquered by Christian imperialist powers who co... [Christianity] [history] [calendar] [dates] [Doug Chaplin]

October 7, 2AM

St. Andrews has a history of putting together fantastic symposiums and conferences, and I was asked to spread the word about another one that is coming up in 2018. It covers a wide array of fascinating topics, and it will be great to see scholars who wor... [Call for Papers]

October 6, 3AM

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about visiting Transylvania, here’s another bit of information that shows why Romania is fascinating. A recent survey suggests that more people in Romania believe in God – or at least, say they believe... [theology] [Belief] [European Union] [God] [Romania] [statistics]

October 5, 3AM

Many of you know that I am planning on running a short-term study abroad trip next May to Transylvania (starting in Bucharest, ending in Budapest, and in between visiting Brasov, Sibiu, Sighisoara, Alba Iulia, and Timisoara).   This is instead of my usua... [Travel] [Ardeal] [Bucharest] [Budapest] [Diversity] [Hungary] [Romania] [study abroad] [Transylvania]

October 4, 2AM

Above you will find the video recording of the first of this year’s public lectures in the Butler Seminar on Religion and Global Affairs, this year’s theme being “Religion, Refugees, and Migration.” This first lecture, “Movin... [education] [Butler University] [Center for Faith and Vocation] [Hoosier] [Indiana] [Indianapolis] [Joshua Landis] [Middle East] [Muslim] [Muslims] [refugees] [Rima Shahid]

October 3, 3AM

This episode felt much too fast paced, skipping 6 months into the future, getting Michael Burnham onto a shuttle and then onto the U. S. S. Discovery (where several of her former crewmates are now crew members, including Ceru, who is first officer) in the... [Star Trek] [crew] [Discovery] [Michael Burnham]

October 2, 3AM

Mitchell Dostine believes that we already know how Star Wars will end (assuming that there is an end, and not an endless string of Disney Star Wars movies that simply peters out several centuries from now without resolution). It will end in gray. The evid... [Star Wars] [Taoism] [balance] [evil] [good] [grey] [Jedi] [Prophecy] [Sith] [Whills]

October 1, 3AM

I was delighted to have an opportunity to watch the upcoming movie Marshall in advance of its release. The movie is incredibly timely, given the upsurge in attention in recent years to racism as a continuing problem in our society. The movie is about just... [movies] [lawyer] [movie] [NAACP] [racism] [Review] [supreme court] [Thurgood Marshall]

September 30, 2AM

Allan Bevere writes: So, how can you tell if you are a re-formed fundamentalist of some stripe? There is currently no diagnostic test available, but allow me to offer some test questions that might indicate you have the affliction: 1. When you read someth... [Fundamentalism] [Allan Bevere] [reformed]

September 29, 2AM

The problem with “What Would Jesus Do?” is that it doesn’t normally lead to ditching one’s parents while on pilgrimage, or flipping over tables. It usually simply means “What do I think the right thing to do is?” and Je... [morality] [Progressive Christianity] [Babylon Bee] [Christlike] [ethics] [Ian Paul] [progressive] [WWJD]

September 28, 3AM

Here is video of Garth Knox’s piece “Jonah and the Whale” for viola and tuba: From the composer’s website: Jonah and the Whale For viola and tuba Written for Gérard Buquet, tubist and friend. The idea came to me to write a piece f... [Jonah] [music] [Alan Hovhaness] [Garth Knox] [whale]

September 27, 3AM

The infographic below (from Work of the World) highlights many of the positive aspects of living in another culture. I never cease to recommend that students pursue this sort of experience, since I know how transformative it was for my own life. I have s... [Travel] [culture shock]

September 26, 3AM

I can see why the discussion arose about whether one can mention God on Star Trek. When they seem to be lost on a desert world, Michael Burnham (Number One) says “Ye of little faith.” And discovering a Klingon beacon, Commander Burnham talks... [Star Trek]

September 25, 2AM

Emma Higgs continues her fantastic series, “Faith in the Fog.” Here is an excerpt: We Christians tend to cling to our beliefs because they provide a reassuring framework in which everything is categorised and understood. But in doing so we ris... [Progressive Christianity] [Emma Higgs] [faith] [uncertainty]

September 24, 3AM

You may or may not be surprised to learn that I still think about the television series LOST from time to time. It seems to happen often when I am mowing my lawn. I think it is because, during the show’s six seasons, I would regularly spend the time... [LOST] [Benjamin Linus] [ending] [finale] [island] [volcano]

September 23, 2AM

Good morning, and welcome to yet another end of the world. As you have probably heard, the end of the world has been predicted as occurring today, as has been done so many times before. This time the one offering the prediction is a man named David Meade,... [eschatology] [Revelation] [1988] [David Meade] [end of the world] [end times] [Harold Camping] [Keith Ward] [nibiru] [prediction] [rapture]

September 22, 3AM

The phrase in the meme – “You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep working for” – is inspired by a similar quip shared by Horace Jeffery Hodges on the blog Gypsy Scholarship. I really loved the way his mind wor... [humor] [Company] [ethics] [sayings] [unethical]

September 21, 3AM

I am delighted to circulate the poster below, to help spread the word about an exciting session at AAR/SBL this year, with a strong digital humanities focus, and co-sponsored by several program units within both the American Academy of Religion and the So... [American Academy of Religion] [Society of Biblical Literature] [AAR] [Annual Meeting] [conference] [digital humanities] [November] [palimpsest] [SBL]

September 20, 3AM

I made a Star Trek reference at last night’s public lecture, in response to a question about whether it was self-defeating or self-contradictory to be intolerant of intolerance. But not wanting to lose an audience that might or might not have apprec... [Star Trek] [Diversity] [IDIC] [inclusion] [Inclusivity] [Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations] [intolerance] [Martin Luther King] [MLK] [motto] [Tolerance] [Values] [Vulcan]

September 19, 3AM

Via ReligionCFP: The fiction of Octavia E. Butler has fired the imaginations of academics and activists alike. Quite often, however, these communities are walled off from one another. Butler’s explorations of the environment, sexuality, race, politics, ... [Call for Papers] [science fiction] [Call for Papers] [Octavia Butler]

September 18, 3AM

Have you heard about the #GIFBible? If not, you should check it out on Twitter. Here is a sample: While Deborah was Judge, Jael killed the opposing general with a tent peg to the head. #gifbible — David Hansen (@rev_david) Mar... [Bible] [#GIFBible] [gif]

September 17, 2AM

One can understand the inclination to think of hurricanes as expressions of anger. Even the metaphors we use – furious howling winds, lashing rain, and so on – draw from such imagery. But there are problems with attempting to take this view li... [theology] [acts of God] [climate] [Hemant Mehta] [hurricane] [hurricanes] [Ken Ham] [Natural Disasters] [Neil Carter] [Theodicy] [Weather] [young-earth creationists]

September 16, 3AM

I had the privilege of hearing the above piece by Ingrid Stölzel at a recital given by Ascending Duo some time back. You can hear more of Stölzel’s music on her Soundcloud page. The program at that performance also included “What I Heard... [music] [Ingrid Stölzel] [Piano] [violin]

September 15, 3AM

CALL FOR PAPERS: Syriac and its Users in the Early Modern World, c.1500-c.1750 A workshop at the University of Oxford, 15-16 March 2018* The vast majority of scholarship on Syriac has focused on Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Yet Syriac continued to ... [Call for Papers] [syriac] [Call for Papers] [conference] [Language]

September 14, 2AM

Dots, Marginalia and Peritexts in Middle Eastern Manuscripts Workshop Venue Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton Date June 11–12, 2018 Conveners Sabine Schmidtke and George A. Kiraz (Institute for Advanced Study) Manuscripts often contain far more ma... [Arabic] [aramaic] [Hebrew] [syriac] [George Kiraz] [Manuscripts] [Marginalia] [Princeton] [workshop]

September 13, 2AM

The Pirate Planet is not an episode that only die hard Doctor Who fans should watch. Written by Douglas Adams, this second episode in the Key to Time sequence is full of the humor one would expect if one is familiar with his other writing. It features not... [Doctor Who] [Douglas Adams] [humor] [pirate] [planet] [Romana]

September 12, 2AM

I have been meaning to blog about Lucian of Samosata since Lorraine Boissoneault wrote an article about him for Smithsonian magazine towards the end of last year. It discusses the question of whether Lucian’s work fits the genre of science fiction... [science fiction] [syriac] [ancient] [Genre] [Lucian] [Samosata]

September 11, 3AM

One of the many job openings listed on the Butler website at the moment: Scholarly Communication Librarian  Position Overview Butler University Libraries invite applications for a Scholarly Communication Librarian, a 12-month, non-tenured (continuing app... [Academia] [Libraries] [Butler University] [electronic] [librarian] [library] [publishing]

September 10, 3AM

I don’t see the problem, necessarily. It is true that few Baptist churches – and perhaps no Baptist churches in our time – are “Communist Churches.” But the meme seems to assume that they could not be, as though there were in... [Baptists] [humor] [Baptist] [church] [Communist] [Community] [name] [van]

September 9, 3AM

The quotations in the image below, which is embedded in the review of David Fitzgerald’s latest (three–volume!) book of half-baked and poorly-argued nonsense that appeared on the blog Debunking Christianity, is supposed to boil down what is po... [mythicism] [David Fitzgerald] [denialism] [historical] [historicity] [jesus] [Kurt Vonnegut] [Mickey Mouse] [Tim O'Neill]

September 8, 2AM

The illegal smuggling of antiquities has been in the news a lot lately (although it has never been entirely absent in living memory, alas). I wonder whether there are games that could be used to teach about this topic in a manner that is fun, and yet do... [Archaeology] [games] [Antiquities] [game] [Hobby Lobby] [illegal] [illicit] [smuggling]

September 7, 2AM

I received the following from Andrew Bernhard about a site that he has maintained for many years: Thank you to all who have visited my site during the past twenty years. I am humbled by the attention it has received and grateful for the oppor... [Gospel of Jesus' Wife] [Gospel of Thomas] [New Testament] [Andrew Bernhard] [gospels] [Mark Mattison]

September 6, 2AM

I had this game, “Fight of Gods,” drawn to my attention. It seems to take the “Buff Jesus” meme image and turn it into a video game. If you don’t know the image I’m referring to, here it is: This way of thinking about J... [games] [Buddha] [buff] [crusade] [Crusader] [crusades] [Deus Vult] [Fight of Gods] [jesus] [kings] [STEAM]

September 5, 3AM

I‘m really excited about the fact that the major conference in the study of popular culture will be held here in Indianapolis in 2018. It is one that I have long wanted to attend, but given my diverse research and teaching interests (Biblical studie... [Call for Papers] [academic] [conference] [games] [Indianapolis] [popular culture]

September 4, 3AM

I was already planning to share this graph by cartoonist David Hayward well before Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, and even before my wife heard some Romanian pastors talking about what God’s aim had been in causing the deaths of their children. It cer... [Theodicy] [David Hayward] [suffering] [theology]

September 3, 2AM

Jeff Carter shared the following reworking of a parable of Jesus on his blog: White Dives and Poor Old Lazarus There was a rich white man named Dives who used to dress in fine linen suits and who feasted every day on tasty victuals and wines. At his gate ... [gospel of luke] [Dives] [Lazarus] [parable] [Poverty] [Race] [racism]

September 2, 2AM

The Butler Seminar on Religion and Global Affairs this year is focusing on “Religion, Refugees, and Migration.” It will feature four public lectures on September 19, October 17, January 23, and February 27. Each takes place from 7:00–9:00 pm... [politics] [Baptist] [Episcopal] [Miguel De La Torre] [refugees]

September 1, 3AM

I am really struck by the Lumo Project’s work to make movie versions of the four Gospels in the New Testament, using only the text as the script (even if obviously there are questions in the gaps in the text that they need to answer, as indicated in... [Christology] [Gospel of John] [gospel of luke] [gospel of mark] [Gospel of Matthew] [Monotheism] [movies] [Andrew Perriman] [Lumo Project]

August 31, 9AM

A friend saw the meme I made about conservative Christians, and suggested that one should be made featuring liberal Christians being distracted from organized religion by Jesus. I thought about it, and it seemed that liberal Christians are the dominant fo... [Progressive Christianity] [Biblicism] [Bibliolatry] [Christocentric] [jesus] [meme] [Progressive Christianity] [progressive Christians]


Inspired by a different version created by Beau Quilter and shared on this blog here. What do you think? Does this get the point across about conservative-to-fundamentalist Christians in the United States in the present day, and their support for Donald... [Evangelicals] [Fundamentalism] [humor] [politics] [American] [Christians] [Conservative] [distracted] [Donald Trump] [fundamentalist] [meme] [United States]


Charles Häberl recently taught a course on Mandaic in the Ukraine, and a video recording of the first lesson is available on YouTube. It provides an excellent overview of the academic study of the Mandaeans and their literature, before moving on to intro... [Mandaic] [Charles Häberl] [Mandaeans]

August 30, 3AM

So much time had passed since I did the above interview for Talk Gnosis, that I had forgotten that it had yet to appear. I’m glad it is now available, and think that you will enjoy the conversation about my book Theology and Science Fiction. It also... [Gnosticism] [science fiction] [theology] [artificial intelligence] [Interview] [Talk Gnosis]

August 29, 12 PM

A student made a meme about modern theology and philosophy and shared it with a colleague, who in turn shared it with me, and I of course thought that I ought to share it with you. I’ve saved what I think is the best of these memes (one that I made... [memes] [Antonio Guillem] [atheism] [humor] [meme] [modern] [mythicism] [mythicists] [original] [philosophy] [prequels] [religion] [science] [Shutterstock] [skepticism] [Star Wars] [theology] [trilogy]


Before turning back to the Gospel of John in my Sunday school class this past weekend, I shared information about the Butler Seminar on Religion and Global Affairs on the topic of “Religion, Refugees, and Migration.” As a point of entry into t... [Genesis] [Gospel of John] [Ethnicity] [Jacob] [John] [Rachel] [religion] [samaritan] [well]

August 28, 3AM

On The Game Crafter site, where Canon The Card Game can be found, I came across a game related to the Reformation: Martin Luther: Life and Legacy. Another game on this theme that I’ve come across is Sola Fide. There is also a game by GMT Games cal... [games] [protestantism] [game] [Life] [Martin Luther] [protestant] [Reformation] [The Game Crafter]

August 27, 3AM

Jim Davila has three lengthy posts about Samuel Zinner’s recent report on the lead books from Jordan, which we have good reason to describe as hoaxes or fakes, regardless of when they were produced, and regardless of when the materials are from. He... [Uncategorized] [Books] [Codex] [codexes] [codices] [Fakes] [Forgeries] [Jim Davila] [Jordan] [Jordanian] [lead]

August 26, 2AM

My colleague Jessica Moore created this “pseudosyllabus” as a way of starting off her course on communication this semester. I thought it was fantastic, and she kindly gave me permission to share it. [Academia] [Butler University] [communication] [Infographic] [public speaking] [syllabus]

August 25, 2AM

There are placed in the world in which Christians are indeed persecuted. But the United States is not one of them. And so the results of a recent poll which asked which religious group faces the worst persecution is potentially very telling indeed. If you... [Fundamentalism] [Donald Trump] [persecution] [Poll] [progressive christian newsletter] [republican] [statistics] [supporters] [survey]

August 24, 3AM

Krista Dalton wrote an article for Ancient Jew Review about using Harry Potter to explore canon. Here is an excerpt from the article: The exercise generated intuitive criteria that the students used to construct their canon lists. I did not have to tell t... [Bible] [Harry Potter] [canon] [Krista Dalton]

August 23, 3AM

Beloit released its latest Mindset List, about the things that the current incoming class of first year students take for granted. These often focus on technology, and this year is no exception, as it includes items like these: They are the first generati... [education] [Technology] [Beloit] [mindset list] [Professors] [students]

August 22, 3AM

It will be good to fill the break in Doctor Who episodes (as we eagerly await its return for the Christmas special) with other things related to the show (for instance, finally completing my series blogging through every single episode from the classic s... [Doctor Who] [Clara Oswald] [Danny Pink]

August 21, 3AM

I‘m going to share some highlights from Gen Con 50, which just concluded yesterday. I’ve created it as a photo journal of the event, not all in chronological order but thematically organized. I already shared highlights from Trade Day, so I... [Doctor Who] [games] [science fiction] [Star Wars] [ancient] [C. S. Lewis] [cosplay] [Gen Con] [history] [Thucydides]

August 20, 2AM

FROM THE ORION CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS: Open Call for Papers An International Symposium: The Dead Sea Scrolls at Seventy: “Clear a Path in the Wilderness” Date: 29 April–3 May, 2018 Conveners: The Hebrew University of Jerusal... [Call for Papers] [Call for Papers] [conference] [Dead Sea Scrolls] [israel]

August 19, 3AM

It is time to plan for the blogging (and microblogging/tweeting/social media using) scholars who will be at AAR/SBL in Boston in November to meet. Last year we scheduled the bloggers’ gathering at the same time as the presidential addresses of the t... [American Academy of Religion] [Society of Biblical Literature] [AAR] [bloggers] [Dinner] [SBL]

August 18, 2AM

I was delighted that author Jonathan Tweet, when he got in touch with me a while back, followed up by having a copy of his children’s book about evolution, Grandmother Fish, sent to me. The book recognizes and faces head on the challenges in teachin... [book review] [evolution] [children] [education] [fish] [grandmother] [Jonathan Tweet]

August 17, 5AM

I‘d like to share some of my experience of Gen Con’s Trade Day yesterday. To start with, here is video from the presentation that my colleagues Jason Goldsmith, Amanda Starkel, and I gave at Gen Con yesterday. The room was packed, the audience... [education] [games] [Libraries] [database] [destroy] [educators] [gaming] [Gen Con] [librarians] [Professors] [search] [simulations] [The Game Crafter] [Trade Day] [university]


I want to spread the word about an opening at Butler University in my own Department of Philosophy, Religion, and Classics: Assistant Professor of Religion Butler University seeks to hire a tenure-track assistant professor of religion who specializes in I... [Academia] [Islam] [academic] [assistant professor] [Butler University] [job openings] [professor] [religion] [vacancies]

August 16, 2AM

Conservative blogs drew attention to a Butler University course about resisting “Trumpism” a while back. I don’t want to reignite the interest in that subject, since I know it caused a lot of headaches for a number of people around t... [education] [politics] [Billboard] [Butler University] [critical thinking] [Donald Trump] [Indianapolis] [Islam] [KKK] [Muhammad] [Nazi] [Nazis] [Neo-Nazis] [Ovid Butler] [Trumpism] [university] [Values] [white supremacists]

August 15, 3AM

I hope that readers of this blog have all seen Joseph Hartropp’s article about Canon: The Card Game. If not, please do read it. I thought that it might be worth sharing here my longer text that I provided to him about the game, in case you find it i... [games] [canon] [gaming]

August 14, 3AM

Here’s another session to add to your list of what to attend at SBL in Boston this November. [Society of Biblical Literature] [Ethnicity] [Race]

August 13, 2AM

There have long been efforts to ban landmines, primarily for the simple reason that they persist long after the war has ended, when they can blow up and injure innocent people who had nothing to do with the war that led to the creation of the minefield. W... [politics] [Adolf Hitler] [Charlottesville] [David Duke] [hate] [KKK] [Ku Klux Klan] [March] [Matt Heimbach] [Nazi] [Nazis] [propaganda] [right] [Unity]

August 12, 3AM

Eclipses were treated as portents throughout much of history (see Anne Graham Lotz’s ambiguous comments on this subject). Eventually, however, people realized that these are entirely predictable events that result from the moon passing between the ... [eschatology] [eclipse] [end times]

August 11, 3AM

As the first movement of his choral and orchestral work titled Creation/Creator, Christopher Theofanidis used for the libretto a poem by the famous Sufi mystic Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks): Elephant in the Dark Some Hindus have an elephant to show.... [Hinduism] [Islam] [blind] [dark] [elephant] [Hindu] [mystic] [Mysticism] [poem] [Rumi] [Sufi] [Sufism]

August 10, 2AM

[youtube][/youtube]     I discovered Stephen Melillo’s music through the Naxos Music Database, and from there looked online to see what else I could find. There are quite a few things on YouTube a... [music] [Psalms] [Bible] [David] [Stephen Melillo]

August 9, 3AM

This struck me while discussing the Gospel of John’s depiction of judgment as based on belief in the present (3:18), versus judgment based on works in the future. If believing in this context means having the right ideas, then that presents a serio... [protestantism] [Proverbs] [beliefs] [doctrine] [faith] [grace] [salvation] [understanding] [works]

August 8, 2AM

HT PZ Myers. One could make a version of this for all academics and experts. There is something particularly excruciating about spending years of one’s life dedicated to studying a field and trying to advance our knowledge in it, only to be treated... [afterlife] [humor] [science] [cartoon] [expertise] [hell] [internet] [scientist] [Tom Gauld]

August 7, 3AM

A fellow Patheos blogger, Leah Schade, has shared some thoughts about re-watching the classic movie Blade Runner in our era of Black Lives Matter. She notices things such as the uniform whiteness of the actors in major roles, the one reference to race in ... [racism] [science fiction] [artificial intelligence] [basic income] [black lives matter] [Blade Runner] [robots]

August 6, 3AM

I recently made the (virtual) acquaintance of the famous game designer Jonathan Tweet, who has been involved in authoring a number of Dungeons and Dragons volumes and books for other RPGs. Jonathan also published his first children’s book recently... [mythicism] [debate] [Jonathan Tweet] [Richard Carrier]

August 5, 2AM

August 4, 3AM

Mike Bird complained not long ago about the television series The Handmaid’s Tale – my hunch is without having seen it, since he got the name wrong. But he is clearly influenced by a growing tendency in conservative Christian circles for peop... [Fundamentalism] [Handmaid's Tale] [Margaret Atwood] [Mike Bird]

August 3, 2AM

Politicians have been taking aim at immigration and immigrants, and the poem that was added to the base of the Statue of Liberty early in the 20th century has been targeted as well. That poem was written not only to mark the occasion of the setting up of ... [politics] [AntiSemitism] [Donald Trump] [Emma Lazarus] [Immigration] [Jewish] [Jews] [persecution] [poem] [poetry] [policy] [refugees] [Russia] [statue] [Statue of Liberty]

August 2, 3AM

Another piece that can be included on my long list of musical settings of Biblical texts is Ernst Krenek’s setting of Lamentations. I’m not sure how I neglected it (not that I needed more musical examples for the class). Krenek’s piece i... [Lamentations] [music] [Ernest Krenek] [Peter-Anthony Togni]

August 1, 3AM

The image above came my way via Facebook. So too did the NPR piece titled “The Ongoing Battle Between Science Teachers and Fake News.” In it, Susan Yoon “suggests teachers give students the tools to think like a scientist. Teach them to... [pseudoscience] [critical thinking] [day] [expertise] [flat earth] [Garry Kasperov] [information literacy] [Ivanka Trump] [night] [post-truth] [tweet]

July 31, 2PM

Connor Wood shared this call for applications for a fellowship on religion and science, the deadline for which is today: APPLY FOR THE 2017-2019 SINAI AND SYNAPSES FELLOWSHIP! Applications due July 31st. Do you want to learn from some of the top scientist... [religion] [science] [dialogue] [New York] [Sinai] [synapses]


In the latest post in her “Faith in the Fog” series, Emma Higgs writes: Love is not the easy option The conservative evangelical voice in my head still occasionally wonders if this is wishful thinking. An attempt to soften the Truth, to make ... [Progressive Christianity] [Emma Higgs] [following] [jesus] [love] [meme] [progressive christian newsletter] [quote] [slippery slope]

July 30, 3AM

You may have already seen the news that DNA analysis of Canaanite skeletons in the region of ancient Sidon in what is today Lebanon shows their close genetic relationship to the current inhabitants of that country. Let me start by pointing out that some ... [Uncategorized]

July 29, 3AM

I became aware of the game Genesis (the one that I blogged about recently) through the website of Game Paradise, a game library here in Indianapolis. I visited it for the first time with colleagues and wanted to mention it here. One of the things that I ... [games] [Game Paradise] [Indianapolis] [library] [Terraforming Mars]

July 27, 9PM

I had the opportunity to attend an advance screening of the new movie Detroit yesterday night. For someone like me, born after the 60s, events like the riots in Detroit, and the Algiers motel incident are not something I’d have seen in the news. And... [Uncategorized] [black lives matter] [Detroit] [Motown] [movie] [music] [Police] [soundtrack]


Another couple of games with biblical themes came to my attention recently. One is Genesis, by game company Gigantoskop. Here is the description from their website: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. It took him six days to complete hi... [games] [Genesis] [apocrypha] [game]

July 26, 3AM

Songs of exile: a playlist for Psalm 137 Oxford University Press shared some settings of Psalm 137 on their blog, as musical accompaniment to their book about that Psalm, Song of Exile by David Stowe. This is a really useful resource, as it includes some ... [music] [Psalms] [Oxford] [playlist] [Press] [Psalm 137] [Songs] [university]

July 1, 3PM

After starting with a reminder of what happened in the last episode, we are shown life in one of the giant ship’s solar farm levels, where people are trying to defend themselves against the scarecrows/cybermen. The Master and Missy ask the Doctor ho... [Doctor Who] [cybermen] [kindness] [Master] [Missy] [Nardole]


Whatever one may think of the fruits of Barack Obama as a liberal Christian, the point here is that Republicans seem unwilling to judge these two candidates according to their fruits when it comes to how they characterize their religious affiliation. If n... [Evangelicals] [politics] [Barack Obama] [Christian] [Donald Trump] [Muslim] [republican] [Republicans]

June 30, 3AM

Emma Higgs writes (in one post from a series the entirety of which is worth reading): As it turns out, diving all the way in to my deepest doubts and fears hasn’t led me away from Christianity, but instead has revealed a richness and beauty to the Chris... [Progressive Christianity] [Bible] [Emma Higgs] [faith] [fog] [messiness] [skepticism] [uncertainty]

June 29, 3AM

The Society of Biblical Literature and American Academy of Religion conferences in November have their schedules available at least in draft form, and so I thought I would share a little about the sessions that I am involved in. I’ll be talking abo... [American Academy of Religion] [Society of Biblical Literature] [canon] [card game] [pseudepigrapha]

June 28, 3AM

You are probably aware that a solar eclipse will be visible across the United States on August 21st of this year. That’s the day after Gen Con, and also during Butler University’s Welcome Week for new students. Our Butler University libra... [astronomy] [Butler University] [solar eclipse]

June 27, 4AM

James Garth created the above questionnaire in response to those who complain that the question about religion in the Australian census were not detailed enough. Those recently-released census results are interesting, with a large number of people self-id... [religion] [Australia] [Australian] [census] [questionnaire]


I wasn’t sure when I started watching it if I was going to blog about Humans. I had wanted for a long time to watch the Swedish original, but hadn’t found the time. Now that the English version is available, I knew I ought to watch it. It had ... [science fiction] [androids] [God] [humans] [synthetics]

June 26, 3AM

There is no other reason I am sharing this other than that I think it is a wonderful piece of music. Please do let me know whether you enjoy it too!   [music] [river] [William Blezard]

June 25, 6AM

I just had a wild thought about the final part of the season finale of Doctor Who. Some have speculated that the Doctor is dying, given that he couldn’t use regeneration energy to cure his own blindness. Perhaps he used his own regeneration energy ... [Doctor Who] [cybermen] [David Bradley] [dying] [finale] [Peter Capaldi] [regeneration] [speculation] [Tenth Planet] [William Hartnell]


One of the questions I posed in my class on religion and science fiction last fall was about the relationship between prophecy and sci-fi. The key question is whether predicting the future and getting it right is the point of these two genres. On the one ... [science fiction] [apocalyptic] [prediction] [Prophecy] [Prophets] [Social commentary] [visions]

June 24, 5PM

SPOILERS AHEAD! The episode begins with the Doctor exiting the TARDIS on a frozen landscape and beginning to regenerate, and shouting “No!” That’s certainly a dramatic way to lead into the first part of a season finale! After the credits... [Doctor Who] [Exodus] [Genesis] [black hole] [conversion] [cybermen] [Master] [Missy] [Mondas] [upgrade]


I watched the first couple of episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale miniseries. It does a good job of moving Margaret Atwood’s story into the present day, and of exploring the inner life of Offred’s thinking. The story explores a world in whi... [politics] [science fiction] [Donald Trump] [dystopia] [dystopian] [Gilead] [Margaret Atwood]

June 23, 8AM

This job announcement came to my attention via the NASCAS e-mail list, and I thought it worth sharing here. The Institute for Medieval Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, is seeking a Digital Humanist (f/m; 50%) with experience in XML-technologi... [Academia] [Arabic] [Greek] [syriac] [digital humanities] [employment] [job openings] [Opportunities]


Richard Beck shared this quote from St. Columban, and it immediately struck me as memeworthy. Since Columban was using words to instruct in the very act of writing this, we are protected from going to an extreme to which the one who wrote these words wou... [Roman Catholicism] [Columban] [quote] [words]

June 22, 2AM

The above piece by Steve Reich takes its inspiration from the shared sacred site marking the burial place of Abraham. It is one of the sites in the Holy Land that made the biggest impression on me. On the one hand, Hebron today is a place of serious tens... [music] [Abraham] [cave] [Christian] [Hebron] [Jewish] [Muslim] [Patriarchs] [Steve Reich]

June 21, 3AM

Please find below a call for participants and papers for ReLACS 2017 (Regional Late Antiquity Consortium Southeast) to be held on October 19-20, 2017. ReLACS, now in its fifth year, is a annual workshop of scholars of Late Antiquity held on a rotating bas... [Call for Papers] [Call for Papers] [conference] [Regional Late Antiquity Consortium Southeast] [Vanderbilt University]

June 20, 3AM

I had used the phrase “cherry-picking” plenty of times, metaphorically, in relation to the Bible. But I had never literally picked cherries. However, a few years ago we planted a cherry tree in our yard, and just recently I had the opportu... [Bible] [cherry-picking]

June 19, 3AM

The story begins at Devil’s Cairn in Scotland, with a girl who wants to listen for music, and a boy who says it is ghosts who may drag her to hell. On a stone cairn nearby, we see the TARDIS carved. The Doctor, Bill, and Nardole go back to the 2nd c... [Doctor Who] [Latin] [legion] [lesbian] [modern] [Peter Capaldi] [regeneration] [Roman] [Romans] [Scotland] [sexuality]

June 18, 3AM

I received an e-mail about an older blog post of mine that I linked to in a recent post, and thought I would share it, and my response here. James, I read your “Just Sayin” post today and clicked through your link to your post from 2010 about Eccles 2... [afterlife] [Ecclesiastes] [death]

June 17, 3AM

The New York Times recently featured an article about the resurgence of liberal religion in the realm of politics. It included the quote that I have turned into a meme above. “How do you take two or three Scriptures and make a theology out of it, and cl... [politics] [Progressive Christianity] [left] [Liberal] [liberals] [malpractice] [religion] [right] [theology] [William J. Barber]

June 16, 3AM

Steve Wiggins shared the above meme featuring a quote from the Bible, an image, and the addition of “Just Sayin’.” What other verses from the Bible deserve similar treatment? Please share the ideas in comments, with or without the images... [Ecclesiastes] [politics] [Donald Trump] [politician] [unwise]

June 15, 3AM

A couple of days ago I received my copy of the proceedings of the York Christian Apocrypha Symposium that I presented at on the subject of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. The volume is published by Cascade (an imprint of Wipf and Stock) and available thr... [Gospel of Jesus' Wife] [conference] [Forgeries] [forgery] [publication] [Tony Burke] [York Christian Apocrypha Symposium]

June 14, 3AM

One of my favorite sessions at CanvasCon was about video games and learning. Many of the points made are ones that I also make regularly when I explain my passion for gamification. The talk was by Matt Brenner, whose Twitter handle @levelupteacher is just... [education] [games] [gamification] [learning] [video games]

June 13, 3AM

On Sunday, my congregation, Crooked Creek Baptist Church, celebrated its 180th anniversary. It is the third oldest church in Indianapolis, and older than Butler University (among other things, including a significant number of countries). The following da... [education] [religion] [Technology] [Blackboard] [Butler University] [Canvas] [CanvasCon] [CMS] [Crooked Creek Baptist Church] [faith] [Learning Management System] [LMS] [Moodle]

June 12, 3AM

A lecture by Joel Baden, drawn to my attention by Biblical Studies Online. In an article on the same subject, he shared this cartoon:   [Bible] [Immigration] [Joel Baden] [Lecture] [video] [YouTube]

June 11, 3AM

When I mentioned in my course on the Bible and music that one of my favorite composers is Erich Wolfgang Korngold, this led a student to express interest in doing research related to his music. My initial reaction was to find myself unable to find much i... [Bible] [movies] [black] [discrimination] [Erich Wolfgang Korngold] [Hollywood] [movie]

June 10, 6PM

The episode begins with a countdown at NASA, at which the Doctor shows up. The Valkyrie probe is just sending back images from underneath the Martian polar ice cap – and they see the words “God Save the Queen.” So the Doctor, Bill, and N... [Doctor Who] [Alpha Centauri] [Ice Warriors] [Jon Pertwee] [Peladon] [Peter Capaldi]


When I saw this individual in what looked like the lotus position at a bus stop, I had to snap a photo. When I looked more closely as I prepared to blog about it, I realized that the man was not meditating, but looking at his phone. But it seems to me tha... [Technology] [calm] [patience] [phones] [Productivity] [texting] [waiting] [zen]

June 9, 3AM

A friend shared the above quote on Facebook, which seems to have circulated anonymously for some time. And so I thought it deserved to be turned into a meme. [Genesis] [young-earth creationism] [carnivores] [herbivores] [Noah's Ark] [plants]

June 8, 3AM

The above video, “Look Up,” might be a useful counter to the concern that keeps our eyes on our phones so often: FOMO or “Fear Of Missing Out.” See also the New York Times piece from 2016 on whether we are more or less connected as... [Technology] [FOMO] [phones]

June 7, 3AM

Reddit is exactly the kind of place where one would expect a discussion to take place about whether Wall-E (in the movie of the same name) represented the tempting serpent in the Garden of Eden, perhaps understood as Satan, rather than being a messianic... [Genesis] [science fiction] [Eve] [movie] [Satan] [symbolism] [Wall-E]

June 6, 6PM

Call for Papers AI and Apocalypse Centre for the Critical Study of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements (CenSAMM) April 5 – 6, 2018. Inside the Big Top at the Panacea Charitable Trust gardens, Bedford, United Kingdom CenSAMM Symposia Series 2018 / ... [Call for Papers] [Technology] [Terminator] [AI] [apocalyptic] [artificial intelligence] [Call for Papers] [conference]


The Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis Refugee and Immigrant Services organization is hosting a World Refugee Day Dinner. Click through for more details. World Refugee Day is actually June 20th, and the Exodus website has a lot of other information and ... [Exodus] [Roman Catholicism] [Catholic] [Immigrants] [Indianapolis] [refugees] [World Refugee Day]

June 5, 12 PM

Thanks to Jeff Carter for hosting the latest Biblical Studies Carnival – and apologies for not mentioning it here until today. As always, Phil Long has details about upcoming carnivals. The carnival includes this image of what happens when you ask ... [Biblical Studies Carnival] [biblioblogging] [biblioblog] [bibliobloggers]


The Enoch Seminar website includes a subsection devoted to the figure of Salome – who was obviously part of my course on the Bible and music last semester. Here is the link: It w... [art] [music] [Enoch] [punk] [Salome]

June 4, 3AM

Ron Huggins shared the following on Facebook: The French scholar Charles Guignebert, Professor of Christian History at the Sorbonne in Paris, wrote a very critical book on Jesus in the 1950s. He was far more skeptical of the value of historical data on Je... [mythicism] [Charles Guignebert] [historical Jesus] [Robert M. Price] [scholar]

June 3, 6PM

The episode begins with a commercial featuring the Doctor speaking of the monks’ benevolent role throughout history, asking for nothing in return except our obedience. We find out what the latter means when a family of three hears a knock on the doo... [Doctor Who] [monks]


Via NASCAS I learned of the following web resource: I am pleased to inform you that [the] Digital humanities Center at the University of Balamand has publicly and successfully launched “PAVONe”, Platform of the Arabic Versions of the New Testament. T... [Arabic] [New Testament]

June 2, 3AM

The Society of Biblical Literature issued a statement on academic freedom. Here is an excerpt: The Society of Biblical Literature supports academic freedom for scholars in their research, publication, and the broader communication of that research in an i... [Academia] [Society of Biblical Literature] [Academic freedom] [SBL] [statement]

June 1, 3AM

Ben Stanhope drew the above photo of a display at the Creation Museum to my attention. It is truly illustrative of the character of young-earth creationism. They claim to be all about the Bible, and yet they can’t be bothered to get the Biblical t... [Exodus] [Hebrew] [young-earth creationism] [Creation Museum] [Ten Commandments]

May 31, 3AM

The bible is getting more loving as time goes on. Here is the number of times the word “love” appears in different English translations of the bible along with their publication dates: 1611 Authorised Version (KJV) 310 1963 New American Standa... [Bible] [frequency] [love] [Word]

May 30, 2AM

The episode begins with the Secretary General of the UN coming to Bill Potts looking for the president, to which Bill responds that she doesn’t know the president and wouldn’t have voted for him, because he’s orange. On the one hand, I w... [Doctor Who] [Donald Trump] [fear] [love] [monks] [orange] [political] [president] [slavery]

May 29, 3AM

This was an argument that I had not heard before. Any suggestions on how to weave it together with the Egyptian theology that viewed cats as divine? [humor] [pseudoscience] [cats] [earth] [flat]

May 28, 3AM

The article from which the quote is taken is worth reading in its entirety. Here is another excerpt: Some people are confused about how certainty and uncertainty can both co-exist at the same time in science, while too many opportunists (creationists and... [education] [contradiction] [critical thinking] [denial] [denialism] [discomfort] [meme] [quote] [science]

May 27, 2AM

Liz Theoharis writes: Keeping in mind these emphases of Deuter­onomy, we can grasp the liberative dimension of Jesus’ words in Matthew 26:11, “you always have the poor with you.” After an unnamed prophetess anoints him to be ruler of God’s kingdo... [Deuteronomy] [Economics] [Gospel of Matthew] [jesus] [Jubilee] [Matthew] [poor] [Poverty] [Sabbath]

May 26, 3AM

  Steve Wiggins wrote the above in a recent blog post. Click through to read the whole thing. [morality] [pride] [racism] [Steve Wiggins] [supremacy] [white]

May 25, 1AM

I was supposed to join in a blog tour about the new NIV Faithlife Study Bible, but got overwhelmed. But I still want to make sure that I mention it, because I have to at least share what got me excited about this study Bible. As is often the case with su... [Bible] [book review] [cosmology] [Hebrew] [NIV] [Study]

May 24, 7AM

Via Peter Head on Facebook. Which is the blank page? The one that says it is – and as a result is not? Or the one that does not claim to be blank but is? [humor] [blank page]


Kerry Connelly wrote in a recent blog post about a commentary on the story about a “sinful woman” in Luke 7: Wait. What? We don’t need to blacken Simon’s character, but it’s totally cool to call the woman a whore even if there’s no evi... [gospel of luke] [Anointing] [commentary] [Kelly Connelly] [prostitute] [sexual] [sinful] [woman]

May 23, 10AM

The Babylon Bee is a great source for Christian satire. Just recently they posted a list of 23 Christian movies that need to be made. Here’s a sample of what they suggest: I also particularly liked #19: A NASA astronaut is stranded on Mars. Every C... [Evangelicals] [humor] [Christian] [evangelical] [Kirk Cameron] [movies] [parody] [satire]


This cartoon by David Hayward seems like a suitable updating of the parable of the wheat and the tares from the Gospel of Matthew. What do you think? [Gospel of Matthew] [cartoon] [David Hayward] [fruit] [jesus] [tares] [tree] [wheat]

May 22, 6AM

Diana Butler Bass shared this image on social media: All-purpose, go-to question: Can you imagine if President Obama had done this? (Whatever it is that he is doing….) — Diana Butler Bass (@dianabutlerbass) May 22, 2... [politics] [ceremony] [Diana Butler Bass] [Donald Trump] [Saudi Arabia]


Here’s how Abdul Saltagi’s essay, which won this year’s Kristi Schultz Broughton Liberal Arts Essay Contest, begins: “It’ll be okay mom,” I lied, trying to comfort my distraught mother. She had just heard the news that her nephew... [Islam] [Butler University] [essay] [liberal arts] [refugees] [Syria] [Syrian]

May 21, 3AM

Something I said a while back has been turned into a meme and begun to circulate on Twitter: .@ReligionProf: Quote of yours from 2015 that I liked and kept. Came across it and figured it needed a meme. — [Academia] [Bible] [meme] [quote] [scholars]

May 20, 3PM

The story begins with the Doctor at an execution for Missy, a long time ago, at which he is supposed to pull the lever, but apparently finds a way to save her. And so we find that she is the one in the vault. It is a planet and order of people dedicated t... [Doctor Who] [Roman Catholicism] [Pope Benedict] [Veritas]


A special issue of the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures, exploring the intersection of the Hebrew Bible and science fiction, is now available in print form as a book from Gorgias Press. The title is Not In The Spaces We Know, and I mentioned the online edit... [Bible] [science fiction] [Frauke Uhlenbruch] [Gorgias Press] [Hebrew]

May 19, 8AM

The review I wrote of Nina Henrichs Tarasenkova’s book Luke’s Christology of Divine Identity has just been published in Review of Biblical Literature. Here is a brief snippet to whet your appetite: Unfortunately, from early in the book rea... [book review] [Christology] [gospel of luke] [adoptionism] [Divine Identity] [richard bauckham]


A recent post on the blog “History for Atheists” (which critiqued the meme above) highlights the reason why I felt the need to develop Canon: The Card Game: there is a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation on the subject. The challenge ... [Bible] [games] [canon] [card game] [Constantine] [history] [myth]

May 18, 6AM

Hemant Mehta shared the above cartoon by Kristian Nygård. Despite being a somewhat silly attempt at humor, I think it actually highlights issues related to how people sometimes talk about God causing and/or permitting things in the universe. What do you ... [humor] [theology] [asteroid] [dinosaurs] [divine action]

May 17, 3AM

There are several upcoming events in Indianapolis related to refugees and justice, a subject that has been very much on my mind, as I’ll be teaching a course that will run over the entirety of the next academic year, in parallel with the Butler Semi... [education] [morality] [politics] [Baptist] [Burma] [Burmese] [Butler University] [Congo] [Congolese] [Immigration] [Justice] [refugees] [resistance] [wall]

May 16, 10AM

Paul Levinson had fun with the announcement that NBC’s decision to cancel the time travel TV show Timeless has been reversed, exploring the possibility that this change was a result of time travel – and what that would imply in the realms of... [science fiction] [time travel] [timeless]


The program for Gen Con was made available online on Sunday. That means that you can search for keywords such as “gamification,” “education,” or “McGrath and find the session that my Butler University colleagues and I are hos... [education] [games] [Butler University] [gamification] [gaming] [Gen Con] [higher education] [information literacy] [Libraries] [Professors] [students] [universities]

May 15, 3AM

Indiana University has an interesting archive featuring Steve Reich’s exploration of the Psalms. And the recent Past Forward composer spotlight on Reich is also very interesting. [Hebrew] [music] [Psalms] [Steve Reich] [Tehillim]

May 14, 12 PM

The episode “Oxygen” begins with the Doctor saying “Space: the final frontier.” He then talks about space, the void, wanting to kill us. The first scene after the credits features the Doctor lecturing about how space kills us (ev... [Doctor Who] [mining] [oxygen] [profit] [space]


Kevin Frank shared this on Facebook, and it seemed the best thing for me to share for this occasion. Happy mother’s day, whether you are a mother, or celebrating with your mom, or remembering a mother who is no longer present. Everyone can find a re... [humor] [cartoon] [comic] [face] [jesus] [Kevin Frank] [mary] [mother] [mother's day]

May 13, 3AM

I was delighted to see the following in the latest De Gruyter catalog: I have no idea why it is in the “church history” section of the catalog. But it is good that this project is so close to being wrapped up and completed that the publisher h... [Mandaeans] [Mandaic] [Book of John] [Charles Häberl] [commentary] [critical] [edition] [John the Baptist] [Mandaean] [Mandaism] [text] [translation]

May 12, 8AM

Here’s the audio of the full performance of the LibCats at the opening ceremonies of the Butler Summer Games on Wednesday. I set a video camera somewhere hoping to be able to share a video of the performance. However, some of my colleagues ended u... [music] [Butler Summer Games] [Butler University] [Center for Academic Technology] [librarians]


Laura Robinson wrote on Facebook: You know, whenever Trump’s at his usual evil worst, I’m not even that angry at him. I’ve known what Trump was since I was eleven years old and saw him on television. I’ve never expected him to be a... [Evangelicals] [politics] [Christians] [Donald Trump] [Franklin Graham] [Jerry Fallwell] [Religious Right]

May 11, 6AM

This is a recording of the first ever live performance of the information literacy song, Viva La Library. This took place at the opening ceremony of the Butler Summer Games on May 10th, 2017. Performed by the LibCats.   [information literacy] [Libraries] [music] [Butler Summer Games] [Butler University] [Irwin Library] [LibCats] [parody] [Song] [Viva La Library]

May 10, 3AM

I had a wonderful conversation recently with a student, which touched on a number of aspects of the problem of evil that – despite millennia of attention – seem to me somewhat neglected. For instance, the classic statement of the problem focus... [Theodicy] [evil] [problem]

May 9, 3AM

Apply now for Religion, Spirituality & the Arts – Creation Learn, collaborate, and explore how art and spirituality come together. The next seminar series will once again explore Creation with an emphasis on Genesis 1 & 2, Adam and Eve. Applicat... [art] [religion] [arts] [Sandy Sasso] [seminar] [Spirituality]

May 8, 5AM

I am delighted to announce that I will be presenting at Gen Con’s Trade Day for the first time this year, together with two of my colleagues. We have a two hour session planned, the first half of which will be presentations and discussions about our... [education] [games] [2017] [Butler University] [canon] [card game] [gamification] [Gen Con] [higher education] [Indianapolis] [Trade Day]

May 7, 11AM

Bill and some other students are looking for a house for six, and after being frustrated with what is available, a mysterious man offers them an enormous old house. The Doctor helps Bill to move, and senses something is odd. Bill says that the Doctor is h... [Doctor Who] [house]


Estonian composer Tõnu Kõrvits set the above traditional hymns in a new way. You can hear more of his work on his Soundcloud page: Here are two recordings of the same movement from his “Songs from the Song of Songs”: [music] [Tõnu Kõrvits]

May 6, 2AM

The contrasting quotes come via Jonathan Bernier on Facebook. In making the meme, I chose two images of Jesus interacting with people with preexisting conditions. [politics] [Affordable Care Act] [American Health Care Act] [doctors] [GOP] [healing] [jesus] [Obamacare] [republican]

May 5, 3AM

Dănuţ Mănăstireanu drew my attention to the video above. It is striking how its creator felt that this music – Kyrie Eleison – fit well in conjunction with scenes from the Lord of the Rings. What do you make of the juxtaposition? [Greek] [Lord of the Rings] [music] [kyrie eleison] [Lindisfarne] [Song]

May 4, 6PM

Even the Daily Mail is reporting on my Butler University colleague Ann Savage’s course that explores the election of Donald Trump and strategies for resistance. It is ironic that the article (and the conservative blog posts it is based on) views the... [education] [politics] [Ann Savage] [Butler University] [Conservative] [Donald Trump. Trumpism] [Liberal] [resistance] [strategies]


A happy Star Wars Day (and bad pun day) to those who celebrate the occasion today! For your amusement, to mark the occasion, here is a LEGO Star Wars playset spoof that has apparently landed LEGO in hot water for giving a “spoiler” about ̶... [Star Wars] [bad puns] [destruction] [Jedha] [lego] [May the Fourth] [Star Wars Day]

May 3, 2AM

A Facebook friend drew this cartoon by Tom Gauld to my attention. This could be a discussion between a professor and their undergraduate student, or between two academic colleagues. There are different kinds of impenetrable language, but I suspect that th... [Academia] [humor] [cartoon] [comic] [Data]

May 2, 4AM

This morning the two recent statements by president Donald Trump coalesced in my mind into a single meme. I hope it manages to make its point well. If you like it, please share it!  If you are from outside the United States and I need to explain the ... [politics] [Andrew Jackson] [civil war] [Donald Trump] [presidency] [president]


The composer wrote the piece after experiencing the death of his child. [music] [Psalms] [Michael Kiefer] [Psalm] [tragedy]

May 1, 2AM

Perhaps the most unusual example of Biblically-themed music that I have come across in my explorations of that intersection… [Bible] [music] [Residents] [wormwood]

April 30, 2AM

The “end of the world” is typically good news for someone. In some dystopian scenarios, big corporations make enormous profits. And in some utopian scenarios, those same corporations get what’s coming to them. What are your thoughts abou... [Economics] [end times] [profit] [tribulation]

April 29, 7PM

The Doctor and Bill land in London 1814, and the episode starts with lots of interesting discussions of the danger of time travel to a time when slavery still exists, as well as the potential to step on a butterfly and alter the future. With respect to th... [Doctor Who] [black] [fish] [history] [ice] [jesus] [racism] [slavery] [Thames] [urchin] [whitewash]


April 29th is apparently Tabletop Day, and so this seems as good a time as any to share this somewhat overdue piece of information. I received notification a while back that I’ve had a paper accepted for SBL 2017 in Boston. The title is “... [American Academy of Religion] [games] [Society of Biblical Literature] [#AARSBL17] [AAR] [AARCON] [Annual Meeting] [archon] [bad puns] [canon] [card game] [digital humanities] [SBL] [tabletop]

April 28, 3AM

We are pleased to announce a one-day symposium, sponsored by BIRTHA (The Bristol Institute for Research in the Humanities and Arts) to be held at the University of Bristol, on Friday July 7th 2017. Keynote speakers: Dr Kate Devlin (Goldsmiths) Dr Genevie... [Call for Papers] [Technology] [Call for Papers] [classics] [cyborg]

April 27, 3AM

The view of our planet from the sky can be breathtaking. But what happens when a pilot takes advantage of his enormous window to look upwards, and takes a video of what he sees? That’s what pilot Sales Wick shares with us in the video above. Wow! [astronomy] [galaxy] [Milky Way] [pilot] [space]

April 26, 2AM

April 25, 3AM

A semester has passed since I concluded my class on Religion and Science Fiction. Yet I still have topics to blog about left over from that experience. One activity from that class was asking students to imagine what the future might hold for some existin... [Progressive Christianity] [science fiction] [church] [churches] [future] [institutional] [Trends]

April 24, 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]