Biblical Studies Scholars and Their Thoughts on ‘The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug’

Minimalist Scholar: “Meh.”

Dead Sea Scroll Scholar: “I think it is very likely that Tauriel may have existed in a precanonical form of the book, which very well might be lost in a jar in a cave.”

Q-Scholar: “I believe that if we analyze the Jacksonian variant and the Tolkien variant we might come to find a hypothetical original, which we shall designate as the Hypothetical-V (for Valar) Source.”

Confessional Theologian: “It was a fine movie, but absolutely wrong.  Only what is in the Hobbit book is the true word of Tolkien and all other additions are late heresies.”

Gnostic Scholar: “I prefer the additional movie material to the original book.  Honestly, I don’t see what all the fuss is about.”

Old Testament Theologian: “I can definitely see the influence of the Davidic narratives on the story of Bilbo and the Dwarves.”

New Testament Theologian: “Whaaa…?  David?  I think you mean Jesus.”

Old Testament Theologian: “Same difference.”

Atheist Scholar: “I’m still irritated that Tolkien’s world has a Christian version of heaven and an afterlife in it.  WTF?”

Liberation Theologian: “I really appreciate the character of Bard; his plight is so common among God’s children, and Peter Jackson did such a great job of orchestrating the evils of economic greed and social injustice in the political hierarchy of Lake Town and the downfall of Thorin as his mind is taken by the power of the Arkenstone.”

Conservative Catholic Theologian: “Goodness you talk too much.”

Liberation Theologian: “When I can get a word in, while you’re not yelling over us, I take it.”

Anglican Theologian: “C.S. Lewis beats Tolkien any day.”

Minimalist Scholar: “Meh.”

Progressive Christian Scholar: “I think the love between Tauriel and Kili is a beautiful thing; it shows us that love can happen anywhere between any group of people, regardless of their differences.  It shows us that love is a complicated emotion and, like the love of God, knows no boundaries.”

Confessional Theologian: “Heresy!”

Conservative Catholic Theologian: “Ew.”

Progressive Christian Scholar: “Oh, shut up you two.”

Conservative Baptist Scholar: “Any love that is not between one human man and one human woman is an abomination against the Lord.  Also since all the female Dwarves have beards, we can safely assume that this movie is all part of some grand homosexual agenda.”

Maximalist Scholar: “We’ve discovered the remains of a building which might be an example of an early Gondorian style synagogue.  We’ve finally proved that Middle Earth was a real thing!”

Minimalist Scholar: “That’s…pretty stupid.”

Mormon Scholar: “We have our own version of ‘The Hobbit’ and it is waaayyyy better than yours.  And it is written in a different language–reformed Tolkieneese–so take that all you non-Mormons!”

Confessional Theologian: “Can we all agree to just ignore that guy?”

Methodist Scholar: “Can’t we all just agree that the movie and the book are separate entities and should be judged as such, without muddying the water and acting as if they should all be grouped together in the same category (and therefore hold them to the same standards)?  I mean, we all can usually separate the Gnostic Gospels and the Canonical Ones in this way—can’t we at least make a mental attempt to do the same thing when it comes to Tolkien?”

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The Best Thing Ever

Is this video of a cat riding a Roomba, dressed as a shark

And for all those people who make silly arguments out there, I am now using this to end the debate:

CATROOMBA

h/t Mark Goodacre on Facebook.

Do You Like Classics and Football?

What a silly question, right?  I mean, come on, who doesn’t like Classics and Football?! Well, good on you, because I have some information you’ll be glad to read!

So for those who aren’t aware, Rutgers is responsible for collegiate football.  Seriously, look it up.  And something else you might not know: Rutgers’  first football team was made up predominantly of Classics majors!

Rutgers’ new student paper, the Daily Targum, had the good sense to show up to report on the game, which they did in astonishing detail that has often been reprinted. See here for an excellent summary (with lots of great images) from the RU Athletics website.

Unlike Princeton, Rutgers also kept a good record of its student-athletes who showed up to play that November day—27 for RU in all.

Now, a glance at the academic rolls shows that all but five of those 27 players were taking the rigorous Rutgers Classics Curriculum. The best student among them was probably the team captain, William James Leggett, Class of 1872. Before graduating, he won prizes in Latin as well as mathematics and declamation. Amazingly, he was also Targum editor, director of the baseball team, and captain and stroke of the RU crew.

But three of the members of the team were flunking freshman algebra, and one of them—Classics student William McKee ’73—had a string of absences in the week leading up the game, which the faculty marked as “excused” after the Rutgers victory.

via This day in RU history: team of mostly classicists beat Princeton in first-ever intercollegiate football game |.

With thanks to Professor Brennan on bringing this to my attention.  Rutgers, Football, and Classics: a winning combination in my book and, as it so happens to turn out, Rutgers beat Princeton that game.

Minimalists Re-enact the Last Supper

Here are my minimalist heroes, friends, and colleagues in Amsterdam proving once again that reception is everything.

NP Lemche and Philip Davies on the left, L.L. Grabbe and Thomas L. Thompson in the center.

Here is my re-imagining of the event:

I have been fooling around with editing software this evening and I think I’ve got the right combination of texture and clarity here.

 

George Athas perceptively remarks: “Minimalistically, there is no bread, no wine, and fewer disciples than we thought.  And come to think of it, it isn’t even clear whether we have a Jesus or not.”

Brilliant!  H/T Jim West.

Two in the Mail from SBL!

About this time last year I participated in an online survey for SBL concerning self-publishing and e-publishing.  I was unaware until recently that last year I had won a random prize for being a part of that survey (as do the most neurotic among us, I Googled my name in the SBL search function and found the notification).  And what was that prize?  $50 in SBL books!  And they just arrived today!  Here is what I received:

  • F. Flannery, C. Shantz, R.A. Werline , eds., Experientia, Volume 1: Inquiry into Religious Experience in Early Judaism and Christianity (Society of Biblical Lit, 2008), 272 pages.
  • New Testament Greek Manuscripts, Galatians (William Carey Int’l Univ Press, 2002). Compiled and Edited by Reuben J. Swanson, 135 pages.

Looking forward to delving into these soon.

Jim West Asks ‘Who Will Win Euro 2012?’

Poor Jim.  Doesn’t he know?  It is between two teams in my opinion.  But unlike Jim who sticks to arbitrary choosing or the Ukrainians who are using animals, I have a sure-fire method of predicting to whom it will all boil down.

The two teams most likely to make it to the finals (and one of which will likely win) are Italy or Portugal.  Hands down, all other teams should just pack it up now.  You’re not going to make it.

Why?  First Portugal.  Many know I’ve lived in Portugal for short time.  But many might not know I was there for Euro 2004, when Portugal defied the odds and made it all the way into the Final against Greece.  Plus (and do I really need to say it?) they have one of the best soccer players in the world: Cristiano Ronaldo.   I know the strength of the teams convictions, they have a lot of heart, and I think that goes a long way.

Then there is Italy.  Okay, I have a bias here as an Italian.  And granted there was that whole new scandal that has reflected quite poorly upon the clubs.  But let’s face it, Italy is still a force with which to reckon.   And the players are amazing.  Most are taken from top Serie A clubs, like Juventus, AC Milan, AS Roma. and Palermo.   Many of these clubs have done well in the Champions League (if only AC Milan had beat Arsenal!) and I am confident they will do well in Euro 2012.

Fun With Perception!

This is pretty cool! Because our range of perception is so small, the wall of this static image looks like it is moving!

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