Monday, December 24, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

You Know, Nebo-Sarsekim? The Guy with the Really High Voice?

Somehow I missed this one back in July, but it popped up in Archeology's Top 10 Discoveries of 2007: an Assyriologist (now that's a job title) at the British Musem was translating a Babylonian cuneiform tablet, and he found a reference to "chief eunuch" Nebo-Sarsekim. Here was the guy's reaction, according to Archeology:

"At first I was just pleased to have found a reference to the title 'chief eunuch,' as these officials are mentioned very rarely in the sources. Then it suddenly came to me that this text was very close chronologically to an episode narrated in Jeremiah 39 in which Nebo-Sarsekim is mentioned, and that I might actually have found the very man. So then I got quite excited and instantly went and checked (and double-checked) the exact spelling of the name in the Hebrew Bible and saw that it matched what I had found in the Babylonian text!"

Props to this translator for knowing Jeremiah 39 cold. Apparently the dates on the tablet line up with the dates in the Bible, giving historical legitimacy to the book of Jeremiah and making this, according to the Telegraph, "the most important find in Biblical archaeology for 100 years.”

Or is it? Pepperdine University religion professor Chris Heard weighs in on his blog, Higgaion:

"The Telegraph doesn’t say who has so labeled the translation of this tablet, but the claim itself is idiotic. No way is this find more important than the Dead Sea Scrolls, the House of the Bullae, or the Tel Dan inscription, to name but three possible contenders."

It does, however, trump that dubious Gospel of Judas thing.

The Onion takes on The Golden Compass

Playing off the mainstream media coverage (cuz that's what they do), The Onion writes that "Catholics... have organized boycotts of The Golden Compass." In point of fact, the boycott is actually being organized by The Catholic League, which is actually just this guy. Which makes me want to declare myself The Presbyterian League and speak for all Presbyterians. My first edict: "Presbyterians Think Golden Compass Movie is Pretty Okay, But Really Think You Should Just Read the Book."

See the full-sized infographic here.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Embarrassing Christian of the Day: Sherri Shepherd

The View co-host Sherri Shepherd refused earlier this year to acknowledge that the world is round, lest she get tangled in some tricky fact-based debate about evolution versus creationism. Now Sherri has moved on from geography and is ready to share her version of history: before the Greeks, before the Romans, there was Jesus.

Now it's possible that Ms. Shepherd was referring to John 1 ("In the beginning, there was the word..."). Whoopi Goldberg even tries to jump in and save her with this theological implication. But the sad fact is, she seems to literally believe that Jesus pre-dated the rest of history. And worst of all, she clearly thinks that this belief makes her a good Christian.

As a good Christian myself, I would like to add that Jesus invented the wheel and drew all the hieroglyphics.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Fun with New York Times Corrections

The Times ran a story a couple weeks back about a Brooklyn Dunkin' Donuts run by a Muslim man and a Jewish woman. The headline? "Worshipping Different Gods (But United On The Pork Issue)"

Here's the correction they issued a week later: "A headline last Sunday about a Muslim man and an Orthodox Jewish woman who are partners in two Dunkin’ Donuts stores described their religions incorrectly. The two faiths worship the same God — not different ones."

And who says the press doesn't get religion?