Tag Archives: Bible

Thinking About the First Monotheist: Not Moses, but Akhenaten

In the 14th century BCE, the Egyptian pharoah Akhenaten, father of “King Tut” (Tutankamen), and husband of Nefertiti, seems to have had some profound revelation that there was only one God, and that God’s name was Aten—who manifested himself in the … Continue reading

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Evolution v. Creation Metaphor Watch: Did the Author of Genesis 1 Think That He Was Writing Poetry—or History?

In one respect, the tension between evolutionists and creationists is not over the nature of science, but over the nature of genre. In other words, did the author of Genesis 1 mean to write something in the genre of POETRY—or was he … Continue reading

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“Lot’s Wife”: A Poem by Santi Tafarella

    I am the salty sea your once   amphibious daughters   called home,   and all my vital organs are here,   in Sodom.   Mother, memories, my heart.   They are packed in this place,   like … Continue reading

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Santi Tafarella v. PZ Myers: An Agnostic Urges Liberals, Secular and Religious, to Boycott PZ Myers

University of Minnesota biologist, and now illiberal iconoclast, PZ Myers, has managed to get hold of a consecrated host and desecrate it. Here’s his post on it: OK, time for the anticlimax. I know some of you have proposed intricate … Continue reading

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The Upanishads, the Bible, and Greek Tragedy: Would We Have Had These Great Works of Literature Without Dick Cheney-like Free Market Competition?

What role does competition play in the generation of imaginitive art and literature? Here are six things that suggest that competition plays a very large part indeed: First, in ancient Indian literature, particularly in the early formation of the Rig Veda … Continue reading

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It’s a Madhouse!—But I Still Want To Live: Albert Camus, Fichte’s “Flungness,” and the Planet of the Apes

  When I think of Albert Camus’s famous quip that the first question of philosophy is whether or not to commit suicide, I also think of the late-1960s version of Planet of the Apes, starring Charlton Heston. Three astronauts find themselves in a … Continue reading

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History, Myth, or Something in Between: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know about the Genre of the Gospels, But Were Afraid to Ask

When we look at the gospels, an important literary question that immediately confronts us is this: What genre (broadly speaking) are they written in? In other words, are we reading history, myth, or some combination of the two? Obviously, such … Continue reading

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Direct Apprehension of the Divine: Has Alvin Plantinga Confused Metaphor for Knowledge of God?

Has Notre Dame philosopher and theologian, Alvin Plantinga, the author of Warranted Christian Belief (2000 Oxford), mistaken metaphor for what he calls direct knowledge of God?      I ask this question because early on in his book, Plantinga made an admission … Continue reading

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Love Bomb Burns: A Fascinating Oxford University Press Book on the Social Psychology of Cults and Charismatic Religious Movements

  The book, Cults: Faith, Healing and Coercion (Oxford 1999), by Marc Galanter, is hard to put down. It’s not just an excellent introduction to the dynamics of religious cults, but of social psychology in general. The author uses systems theory … Continue reading

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“At the Cemetary”: A Poem by Santi Tafarella

  Poised to wrestle   the desolate white   angel alone. My mother’s   winged pelvic bone.

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Can the New Testament Really Be Read as Literature in the Same Way That We Might Read an Auden Poem as Literature? Are You Sure?

It’s probably a safe bet to say that, in American culture, most of the time, when a person approaches the New Testament it’s for life-direction (“What must I do to be saved?”), or for information (“What does Paul say about … Continue reading

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Christopher Hedges Doesn’t Believe in Atheists—and Neither Do I: A Review of Hedges’s Most Recent Book, and Why PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins Would Do Well to Read It Too

In light of PZ Myers’s recent flirtation with atheist illiberalism and iconoclasm, and Richard Dawkins’s knee-jerk defense of him, I think that thoughtful liberals, both secular and religious, might consider reading Christopher Hedges’s most recent book, I Don’t Believe in … Continue reading

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Israel Knohl on Hazon Gabriel—The Vision of Gabriel—Qumran Stone Tablet That Seems to Predate Jesus’s Death by a Generation, But Talks about a Suffering and Resurrected Messiah

Israel Knohl, the Biblical scholar whose book, The Messiah Before Jesus (2002), seems to anticipate the discovery of the recent “Gabriel Revelation” stone tablet, has an important essay on the discovery in the Journal of Religion. Knohl calls the tablet Hazon Gabriel (the … Continue reading

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Not Upton Sinclaire’s “Jungle,” but Jim Jones’s: How Religious Sausage is Made

Cults and New Religious Movements: A Reader (Blackwell Readings in Religion 2003) Editor: Lorne L. Dawson This is one of those “breaking the spell” books on religion in which the intricate social psychology–the underbelly of new religious movements–is laid bare … Continue reading

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Onward Atheist Soldier?: Iraq Veteran Files Lawsuit Claiming There is a Climate of Discrimination Against Non-Christians in the Military

CNN has a story today about Army Spc. Jeremy Hall, a former Baptist, now atheist, who believes that there is a climate of discrimination against non-Christians in the military: Like many Christians, he said grace before dinner and read the … Continue reading

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“The Vision of Christ That Thou Dost See”: William Blake on the Many Faces of Jesus

Here are the last fourteen lines of William Blake’s “The Everlasting Gospel”: The Vision of Christ that thou dost see Is my Vision’s Greatest Enemy. Thine has a great hook nose like thine; Mine has a snub nose like to … Continue reading

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A Suffering and Resurrected Messiah—Before Jesus?: Israel Knohl’s 2002 Book Anticipated the 2008 Qumran Stone Tablet Discovery

A striking aspect of the “Gabriel Revelation” tablet discovery is that Israel Knohl, one of the Israeli scholars cited in both the NY Times and TIME magazine articles, had already drawn together, back in 2002, a number of lines of evidence to suggest that the … Continue reading

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To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before: Gilgamesh’s Inner Call to Create and Move

Toward the beginning of Part 2 of the Gilgamesh Epic, Gilgamesh desires to go away from his Mesopotamian city of Uruk, to the far-off forested “Land of Cedars,” guarded by the fierce dragon Humbaba. This going out to the Land of Cedars … Continue reading

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Apocalypse NOT: Jim Jones-like Cult in Profile on ABC NEWS

Self-proclaimed prophet, Yisrayl Hawkins, predicted that a nuclear war would begin earlier this year. Of course, he was wrong. But his followers prepared for the event, and ABC News did an interesting profile on the cult. I couldn’t help but see striking similarities … Continue reading

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The Office as a Burial Ground: Undated Image of a Writer

In an oral culture you are with others in groups, and you hear living voices, and you are frequently out of doors and engaged with the world. In a literate culture you value withdrawal from groups and withdrawal from voices, and are indoors a … Continue reading

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