The Pokey Finger of God

meditations on religion and culture

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Wet Behind the Ears

July 14th, 2008 · Comments Off on Wet Behind the Ears · christianity, history

Almost immediately after the last post, I realized that a “part two” would be in order. First off, there’s the whole issue of how the Gospel of John has a totally different take on the whole baptism thing than the synoptics. Obviously, the Gospel of John has a special place for the Baptist, and his […]

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The Gnostic Calling of Jesus

July 12th, 2008 · Comments Off on The Gnostic Calling of Jesus · christianity, history

In reviewing some historical material, specifically the Prophets of the Old Testament, something new occurred to me. On one level, the Prophets of Ancient Israel and Judah were the real standard bearers for the Yah cult. Some of the kings seemed to like it, perhaps because they imagined that they could somehow politically reunite the […]

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Dobson vs. Obama

June 24th, 2008 · Comments Off on Dobson vs. Obama · christianity, culture, media

Dobson and Minnery accused Obama of having minority, if not crackpot, opinions about the Bible. They indicated several times that they felt he was not qualified to interpret the Bible. They wailed and gnashed their teeth at the wonton destruction laid bare by Barack’s unauthorized lay-opining. Oh, will the nation ever repair from this grievous wound? Then they changed the subject and repeated the process.

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Book Review — The 13th Apostle

June 5th, 2008 · Comments Off on Book Review — The 13th Apostle · christianity, history, media, metaphysics

April D. DeConick, The Thirteenth Apostle. (c) 2007, Continuum. London, New York. This scholarly translation of the recently discovered Gospel of Judas attempts to address some inaccuracies and misrepresentations made in the original translation. DeConick’s translation work began the day the plates from the National Geographic scholars had been released. Reading from the original Coptic, […]

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Not one but many

May 28th, 2008 · Comments Off on Not one but many · christianity, history, media

I’m beginning to accumulate an unwieldy quantity of historical Jesuses. Less useful in that I’ve moved to a primary narrative that leaves Jesus out altogether. Even so, in the absence of an actual, historical Jesus, we may still create a number of literary Jesuses, each distinct and beloved, and required for generational continuity of the […]

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Essene but not heard

May 27th, 2008 · Comments Off on Essene but not heard · christianity, history

I’m enjoying the Marvin Vining book, Jesus the Wicked Priest, but not because I agree with his conclusions. In fact, the more I read, the further removed I become from agreement. He’s another armchair archaeologist, so I feel a certain kinship with him. This despite the fact that the guy has to go through some […]

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Gospel of Judas, revisited

May 7th, 2008 · Comments Off on Gospel of Judas, revisited · christianity, history, media

The latest issue of BAR revisits the much hyped Gospel of Judas, and has some unkind words for National Geographic and their media-heavy release of the original material. The biggest complaint was that they picked the wrong scholars who didn’t understand Gnostic cultures and misinterpreted key passages of the text. Most significantly, NatlGeo published an […]

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Addendum

March 8th, 2008 · Comments Off on Addendum · christianity, history, media

I mentioned Dungan’s Constantine’s Bible the other day before I had finished reading it. I fear that I made it sound like a lame book, and I’m glad I didn’t let my waning enthusiasm sour me on it before I was done. Dungan didn’t go on and on about Eusebius like I had expected. Instead, […]

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The Polis killed the Olympians

March 6th, 2008 · Comments Off on The Polis killed the Olympians · christianity, history, media

Yes, another book. David Dungan’s Constantine’s Bible has an amazing reach, starting from the beginnings of civilization, through the development of Greek philosophy and its distribution through the ancient East. Only a third of the way through, but I’m pretty sure I know how this one ends. Actually, I’m having such a severe case of […]

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Moses in the High Places

March 5th, 2008 · Comments Off on Moses in the High Places · Uncategorized

According to Benny Shanon, a professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, psychedelic drugs formed an integral part of the religious rites of Israelites in biblical times. Writing in the Time and Mind journal of philosophy, he says concoctions based on the bark of the acacia tree, frequently mentioned in the Old […]

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