Biblioblog Top 50 for February (by Alexa Rank) « The Biblioblog Top 50

It’s nice to see I made it into the top 50, and the top 15…next month we aim for the top 10!  Congrats to everyone this month.

1 Jim West Zwinglius Redivivus 53741

2 Joel L. Watts Church of Jesus Christ, The 74727

3 Brian LePort Near Emmaus: Christ and Text 101647

4 Marc Cortez Scientia et Sapientia 122072

5 John Loftus Debunking Christianity 125605

6 James McGrath Exploring Our Matrix 128606

7 Matthew and Madeleine MandM 163672

8 Dan Wallace Contra Mundane 174550

9 J. R. Daniel Kirk Storied Theology 196006

10 Neil Godfrey Vridar 209780

11 Todd Bolen Bible Places 209813

12 Jason Skipper Pastoral Musings 239897

13 Airton José da Silva Observatório Bíblico 252892

14 Thomas Verenna Musings of Thomas Verenna, The 263386

15 Ferrell Jenkins Ferrell’s Travel Blog 274943

via Biblioblog Top 50 for February (by Alexa Rank) « The Biblioblog Top 50.

Staring at Goats? Army Targeted Senators with Psyops

This does sound like something from a comedy, but this is no joke.  Psychological warfare is very real (for those who don’t know, we often employ tactics of psychological warfare on our enemies to demoralize and fracture their forces–it often works).   Using these tactics for the single purpose of getting more money (even if you need it) seems crazy (though, if I think about it, I would be cool with it if the A-Team did this…, I’d think it was brilliant).  Here is a snippet from the story:

The U.S. army reportedly deployed a specialized “psychological operations” team to help convince American legislators to boost funding and troop numbers for the war in Afghanistan.

The operation was ordered by three-star general in charge of training Afghan troops Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, Rolling Stone Magazine reported in a story published late on Wednesday.

An officer in charge of the unit objected when he was ordered to pressure the visiting senators and was harshly reprimanded by superiors, according to the magazine.

“My job in psyops is to play with people’s heads, to get the enemy to behave the way we want them to behave,” the officer, Lt. Colonel Michael Holmes, told Rolling Stone.

“I’m prohibited from doing that to our own people. When you ask me to try to use these skills on senators and congressman, you’re crossing a line,” he added.

Among those targeted were Senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Jack Reed, Al Franken and Carl Levin, as well as Representative Steve Israel of the House Appropriations Committee, the magazine said.

The team also targeted Admiral Mike Mullen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

via Report: Army targeted Senators with psyops – World news – South and Central Asia – Afghanistan –

The Japanese Really Know How to Put on a Show…


And Now for Something Completely Bach…

Jim West posted this link to music from Mozart:

And Now for Something Completely Mozart.

But let’s face it, he should be listening to Bach….

You simply can’t compete (unless, of course, it’s Shostakovitch, because he’s #1).  How does that quote go from Roger Fry? “Bach almost persuades me to be a Christian.”


Total Depravity: Woman Falsely Claims Daughter was Kidnapped

Some people shouldn’t reproduce; now the daughter is going to end up in a foster home (which might be for better or worse), but imagine the emotional repercussions!  Here are a few snippets:

A Bonita Springs woman called the Lee County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday to report that her young daughter — under the age of 13 — was kidnapped by two men outside Bonefish Grill.

But there was one problem with the story she told: it wasn’t true.

The woman, Melissa Ashley Graham, 38, of Vermillion Lane, told investigators that she had an argument with her daughter inside the restaurant and decided to leave.

Graham’s daughter told investigators that after her mother drank two or three glasses of wine and then began acting weird. The daughter told investigators that her mother spit bread on the table and started yelling about family issues.

Graham then left the restaurant without her daughter. A short time later, the daughter and the restaurant manager went outside and found Graham in her car. The manager told Graham she still had to pay her bill, but Graham insisted the other person they were dining with agreed to pay it — but the only other person was her daughter.

Graham became upset and drove off. A few minutes went by and the daughter’s cell phone rang. It was Graham asking the whereabouts of her daughter. Deputies then tried to call Graham back, but she didn’t answer. Her daughter was then taken to the sheriff’s substation until her mother could be found.

via Bonita Springs woman falsely claims daughter was kidnapped | The News-Press |

And who got the blame?  This article states:

Once outside, the young girl was allegedly swiped by the men who then fled in a cream-colored sedan.

But according to this article she apparently told officials that:

Graham allegedly claimed two Hispanic men grabbed the girl and drove away.

So she fictionally creates an account of two “Hispanic men”; nice.  So now she is also a racist on top of being a horrible mother and a liar.  And her defense?

“This is all a complete misunderstanding,” Graham said. “I love my daughter more than anything in the world and I’m going to do everything to make this right.”

Too late.  You’ve proven just how depraved you are.

Depravity: Man Accused of Punching his Disabled Mother

…and then stealing her teeth… seriously.  Just sickening.

Houston, TX — Christopher Harding, 23, stands accused of physically assaulting his disabled mother and running off with her dentures.

Police say the incident occurred at his mother’s home earlier this month. According to Harding’s mother, Mettie Cartwright, the man grabbed her by the throat, pushed her to the ground, punched her in the face and applied painful pressure to her neck with his hand. She told police that her son held her neck so tight she had trouble breathing.

While he had her down on the ground, he reportedly used his free hand to reach inside the woman’s mouth and yank out her upper plate. Harding then fled the home with the teeth. Police said a witness was able to back up the woman’s claim.

Harding was arrested, charged with injury to a disabled person and is currently being held in the Harris County Jail without bond.

via Christopher Harding Accused Of Punching His Disabled Mother, Stealing Her Dentures.

A True Statement…

Who is the Teacher of Righteousness? – Ben Zion Wacholder

Evan, in a comment over at James McGrath’s blog, brought this article to my attention.  I have always felt that the position taken by Ben Zion Wacholder is the correct one; it is good to see it put to words.  It’s a shame that such a great article was published in BAR rather than a journal or series.  Here are some snippets:

The Dead Sea Scrolls frequently refer to a mysterious figure called the “Teacher of Righteousness” (Moreh ha-Tsedek in Hebrew). According to the most widely held view, the Teacher of Righteousness founded the Dead Sea Scroll sect (the sect is usually identified with the Essenes). In this common view, the Teacher of Righteousness organized the Community (the Yahad) and composed many of its most important works.

The nemesis of the Teacher of Righteousness is another shadowy figure called the Wicked Priest (ha-Kohen ha-Rasha). He is also known by a number of other epithets, including the Lion of Wrath, the Liar, the Spreader of Lies and the Man of Scoffing.

Still following the standard interpretation, the Wicked Priest and the Teacher of Righteousness are thought to be historical figures. But that is where the consensus ends. There is no agreement over who they were.

via Dead Sea Scrolls | Who Is the Teacher of Righteousness? | The Dead Sea Scrolls and Why They Matter.


Both the Damascus Document as a whole and the biblical commentaries from Qumran are eschatological documents, not historical treatises. There are many other passages in the Dead Sea Scrolls that could, and probably will, be cited and argued about. The question will be, Are they historical or eschatological?
Despite the absence of any consensus over these identifications, all scholars seem to agree that the Teacher of Righteousness and the Wicked Priest were historical figures.5 I believe they are wrong. I believe the Teacher of Righteousness and the Wicked Priest are eschatological figures who were expected to appear at the End of Days, not historical figures who lived in the past.
The arguments get complicated and technical, as well as philosophical. In each instance, however, I believe a strong case can be made that the context is eschatological and futuristic. The authors of these works understood them as presaging what they believed to be imminent—the coming struggle between the Teacher of Righteousness and his nemesis, the Wicked Priest, a struggle that would initiate the messianic age.
I recommend reading the whole paper.

Timothy Beal: In the Beginning(s): Appreciating the Complexity of the Bible

What an excellent article by Timothy Beal at the Huffington Post. This is what I have been trying to say for years now.  Definitely check it out; it is worth the read.  Here is a snippet:

Unlike the creationism in circulation today, the Bible’s own creationism is rich in different, mutually incompatible ways of imagining cosmic and human beginnings. There is no single biblical account of creation. The Bible doesn’t seem to have a problem with that. Why should we?

Whether or not we should have a problem with this biblical polyvocality, I’ve learned the hard way that many indeed do. I recently wrote a short piece for on “Five Things You Didn’t Know” about the Bible. The first of those five things was that there are multiple accounts of creation in the Bible. I expected some people to disagree, and I looked forward to a serious back-and-forth about the texts I had pointed out. That’s not what happened. Instead, I was overwhelmed with a flood of angry responses, most of which were as impious, rude and downright unchristian in tone as they were reactionary and unthinking in their “defense” of the Bible.

Once I got over being called a “gay moron” and “fatass nerd editor sitting in his basement,” I could see that what I’d gotten myself into was an amplified version of the debates that go on every day between “Bible-believers” and atheists, who looked to me very much like two sides of the same coin.

Both sides agreed that my goal was to “discredit” the Bible, to “make the Bible look stupid, irrelevant, and full of holes” and “a load of bullshit.” The only difference between them was whether they supported or condemned me for doing so. Neither side was remotely interested in engaging with the logic of my argument, let alone the biblical texts I used to support it.

Never mind that I’m a Christian, that I regularly teach about the Bible in confirmation classes and in Sunday school, and that I’ve dedicated more than two decades to studying and teaching biblical literature as a college professor. I think I have my facts right, and the biblical references were right there. It would’ve been easy to go and read them before responding. But no one on either side of the argument did.

via Timothy Beal: In the Beginning(s): Appreciating the Complexity of the Bible.

I can’t recommend it enough.  (h/t to James McGrath on Facebook)

Those Bibliobloggers Must Have Been Hungry…

What happens when Bibliobloggers get hungry?  Well, just look what Joel Watts, Jim West, and Mark Goodacre were caught doing:

Breakfast might be the most important meal of the day, but that doesn’t mean you should break into a school to get it.

Four men have been arrested after they were caught roaming the halls of John Ferguson High School in Miami with some interesting stolen loot.

Along with a computer and an iPod headset, the men were also carrying two trays of French toast.

Delicious choice, but bad execution.

Edel Garcia, 21, Jonathan Alexander Swadener, 18, and 20-year-olds Steven Fabian Gonzalez and Omar Antonio Jiminez were caught early Monday morning after they tripped silent alarms at the school, police said.

Police believe the bandits would have stolen more if not for speedy response and the crooks’ cavalier approach.

The group is charged with burglary, and they can kiss their choices to satisfy their appetites goodbye in jail.

via Burglars rob high school of computer, French toast – U.S. news – Weird news –

Good job.  Do any of you know shame?  ;-)

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