Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I'll Forgive Him the Snarkiness

Sometimes academics just talk that way...

As a prelude to reading Bart Ehrman's most recent book, How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee, I decided to read his previous book, Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth.

Not everyone believes that Jesus is God, the Logos, a member of The Holy Trinity, the Christ, or even a prophet of Allah.  However, many of us non-believers still believe there was a man in history around whom ancient experiences, stories, legends, myths, and dogma have accreted to form Christianity.  There are also some who think no such man ever existed - these are the "mythicists."

Ehrman has been chided for deriding the credentials - or lack of credentials - of those who profess the mythicist perspective. Ehrman spares no words conveying the disregard academics extend to the mere opinions of those outside the field. Still, in doing so he reduces the number of nominally credible mythicists to three or so. Then, while ruthlessly dismembering the mythicist literature, he methodically assembles a modest historical case for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, an Jewish apocalyptic preacher from the Galilee who was put to death by the Romans in Jerusalem on or about 30 CE, around whom a religious movement started...

Despite the ire, it was a better read than I expected.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Pop Quiz

Who does this remind you of?

First, the instructions:

Then from the sacrifice of the peace offering he shall offer as a food offering to [...] its fat; he shall remove the whole fat tail, cut off close to the backbone, and the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins and the long lobe of the liver that he shall remove with the kidneys. And the priest shall burn it on the altar as a food offering to [...]

The details of this offering are being described by:

A) Cthulhu

B) Huitzilopochtli

C) Yahweh

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Been Reading the Bible

As you may have heard, there are some very detailed instructions in Leviticus...

According to tradition the instructions there were dictated to Moses by God Himself.

The LORD called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When any one of you brings an offering to the Lord, you shall bring your offering of livestock from the herd or from the flock. Leviticus 1:1-2

So, do you suppose God really cared precisely how turtle doves or young pigeons were sacrificed to Him?

If his offering to the LORD is a burnt offering of birds, then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves or pigeons. And the priest shall bring it to the altar and wring off its head and burn it on the altar. Its blood shall be drained out on the side of the altar. He shall remove its crop with its contents and cast it beside the altar on the east side, in the place for ashes. He shall tear it open by its wings, but shall not sever it completely. And the priest shall burn it on the altar, on the wood that is on the fire. It is a burnt offering, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD. Leviticus 1:14-17

Because when I really want something to be done a particular way I repeat the instructions.

But if he cannot afford a lamb, then he shall bring to the LORD as his compensation for the sin that he has committed two turtledoves or two pigeons, one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. He shall bring them to the priest, who shall offer first the one for the sin offering. He shall wring its head from its neck but shall not sever it completely, and he shall sprinkle some of the blood of the sin offering on the side of the altar, while the rest of the blood shall be drained out at the base of the altar; it is a sin offering. Then he shall offer the second for a burnt offering according to the rule. And the priest shall make atonement for him for the sin that he has committed, and he shall be forgiven. Leviticus 5: 7-10  

If I were the omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good, transcendent, immanent, timeless, eternal, personal Creator of the cosmos I'd like to think I'd have better things to worry about. Or, just maybe, the Book of Leviticus would make perfect sense...

Still reading.