“Bible Hunters” Part 1: Comments from an Interviewee

Worth reading the comments.

Larry Hurtado's Blog

Well, the first of the two-part “Bible Hunters” programme aired and it was better than one could fear.  The approach reflected what now seems the “orthodox” view among TV producers/directors that the public wants to see some guy/gal running around to various places and doing the “golly, gee” bit, with scholars confined to 10-20 second blips on this or that, just to show that the “golly, gee” has some basis.  (Quite why the presenter was filmed motorcycling around places in Egypt, I can’t say.  Couldn’t he have simply ridden in the car with the camera-guy . . . who was filming him riding a motorcycle??  Seemed to take up unnecessary time, but, hey, “this is TV”.)

It was, of course, TV, but Prof. Mary Beard’s excellent series on Rome shows, contra the “orthodox” view, that a real scholar can present a show, and that it can be both interesting and seriously informative.

In the interviews…

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“Bible Hunters” Part 2, and What They Omitted

A useful bit of Biblical archeology….and very useful commentary the BbC program.

Larry Hurtado's Blog

The second (final) programme in the “Bible Hunters” production aired here in the UK last night, and, as I suspected focused on the discovery of various extra-canonical texts.  The discovery of any early text is cause to be grateful, and the discovery of any early copy of a Christian text (biblical or not) likewise (or even more so for scholars in Christian origins).

So, to be sure, the fragments of extra-canonical texts turned up by Grenfell & Hunt at Oxyrhynchus in the late 19th century, and the more substantial cache of writings found at Nag Hammadi in 1946 are rightly to be seen as important.  The Nag Hammadi texts in particular confirm the vigorous text-producing nature of ancient Christianity, and its theological diversity as well.

But I have to say that I found it strange that some really crucial (arguably more important) manuscripts finds were totally ignored.  If we’re talking about…

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Matthew Parris on Christianity in Africa

Another interesting artcile I stumbled upon, this time by Matthew Parris…

Its a slightly different persepctive on this debate….

A bad dream….

jastrowStumbled across this funny little quote from astrophysicist Robert Jastrow in The Language of God by biologist Francis Collins.

“For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries”

He’s commenting on the seeming obliteration of any physical trace of history prior to the Big Bang, and the Christian claims that God initiated the Big Bang.

Earlier he states: “Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements and the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same; the chain of events leading up to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of flight and energy”

I’m three chapters in – plenty to think about!

The (unbelievable) Unbelievers

I enjoyed this! Anyone who’s sat in church before will too…!
For the record, loved Lawrence Krauss’s book, A Universe from Nothing, esp his miracle endorsing view that someitmes things come out of nothing. He might just as well have ended by quoting Hebrews 11v3….

faithfullydoubting

I had the privilege of attending the Australian premiere of Richard Dawkins & Lawrence Krauss’ documentary film ‘The Unbelievers’ at the Festival Of Dangerous Ideas in Sydney yesterday. Here are some thoughts.

From the opening sequence involving numerous scientific intellectuals such as Cameron Diaz, to the outsider’s perspective given solely to Muslim and Christian fundamentalist protesters, to the behind-the-scenes-of-a-rock-and-roll-tour-style cinematography, it all felt a little nauseating.

After showing numerous discussions between Dawkins & Krauss both on and off stage about the need for critical thinking, the doco-film climaxes at last year’s Reason Rally in Washington, D.C. This is where the nausea started affecting my breakfast.

Dawkins entered to hysterical applause, banner-waving and name-chanting. Immediately, I was taken back to my Evangelical megachurch conference days, where “DAW-KINS!” was replaced with “JE-SUS!”

But it got better.

He then celebrated how many people had attended despite all of the logistical challenges, claiming the…

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More dust that hasn’t quite settled….

I Imagestumbled across this on wikipedia. It seems that, contrary to some claims that there is no evidence for the historicity of the Old Testament, there is some! Here’s something on the Babylonian captivity….It certainly doesn’t prove that the whole of the OT happened in literal form, but it should certainly provide some food for thought for those who claim that there is nothing that corroborates anything in the OT….

For more dust that hasn’t quite settled see this article from National Geographic.

Jürgen Habermas on Judeo-Christian ethics

For the normative self-understanding of modernity, Christianity has functioned as more than just a precursor or catalyst. Universalistic egalitarianism, from which sprang the ideals of freedom and a collective life in solidarity, the autonomous conduct of life and emancipation, the individual morality of conscience, human rights and democracy, is the direct legacy of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. This legacy, substantially unchanged, has been the object of a continual critical reappropriation and reinterpretation. Up to this very day there is no alternative to it. And in light of the current challenges of a post-national constellation, we must draw sustenance now, as in the past, from this substance. Everything else is idle postmodern talk.” – Jürgen Habermas