Ever looked for a way to make sense out of all those crazy stats about global poverty? It's hard to turn all those numbers into something people can grasp, let alone show people why everyone thinks Americans are rich. Enter The Global Rich List, a ...

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"crosstie.org" - 5 new articles

  1. Richer Than You Think
  2. The Arkive
  3. The Jesus Tomb Reopened Closed
  4. The Jesus Tomb
  5. Book Search
  6. More Recent Articles

Richer Than You Think

Ever looked for a way to make sense out of all those crazy stats about global poverty? It's hard to turn all those numbers into something people can grasp, let alone show people why everyone thinks Americans are rich. Enter The Global Rich List, a project of a London creative company using World Bank statistics. The site lets you enter an annual salary in multiple currencies and then ranks you globally. It's surprising. And challenging.


The Arkive

Now and then, I need pictures of animals. Sometimes, I need pictures of very specific animals, and on occasion, I even need video. Granted, it's not so common, but when you want to use an illustration about a Madagascar Grass Owl, there's nothing like a photo. Enter the Arkive--a collection of image and video documentation aspiring to someday capture every species on the planet. Take a peek sometime and imagine all the ways it could be useful.


The Jesus Tomb Reopened Closed

Every so often we find our culture trying to come to grips with the claims of Christianity. The motives vary, but some are truly seeking him. Such was the case with the Gentile woman of Mark 7—a topic we're discussing this Sunday. She was on the outside, but she wanted in.

As it happens, such is also the case for many who are listening to the controversy around the alleged discovery of Jesus’ bones. Some on the outside want in. Others want the inside not to exist. This isn’t the first time someone has said our faith is misplaced, but this time even many non-Christian scholars are on our side.

It’s funny how life works—so often the very things we’ve been studying are exactly what we need for the struggles that are coming. Sometimes the outsiders bring up the conversation that could lead them into the community of Christ. It’s almost as if a sovereign God was involved in our lives (hint, hint, nudge, nudge).

In preparation for that discussion, I will continue to use this post to index some primary materials and voices concerning this controversial documentary. I don't pretend to possess the expertise of many of those I link below, but it's at least useful to me to bring them into one place.

PDF document packet from Discovery Channel (includes Dr. Kloner's documentation of the ossuaries)
Short article explaining what an ossuary is (see last paragraph)
Short overview and key links from Phil Gons
Excellent tomb history and timeline from Dr. R. Kirk Kilpatrick
45 Pithy Comebacks from Todd Friel via PastorResources
A Critique of the Statistics, Etc. from Jay Cost

Amos Kloner interview (the archaeologist who oversaw the site when it was discovered in 1980, frequently quoted on both sides of the argument)

It makes a great story for a TV film. But it's completely impossible. It's nonsense. There is no likelihood that Jesus and his relatives had a family tomb. They were a Galilee family with no ties in Jerusalem. The Talpiot tomb belonged to a middle class family from the 1st century CE.

Richard Bauckham [excellent via Christendom](Professor of New Testament Studies and Bishop Wardlaw Professor, St Andrews, Scotland)
We should note that the surviving six names are only six of many more who were buried in this family tomb. There may have been as many as 35. The six people whose names we have could have belonged to as many as four different generations. This is a large family tomb, which would certainly have been used for quite some time by the same family.
Darrell Bock [post 1, 2, 3 and audio interview at bible.org](Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary; Professor of Spiritual Development and Culture, Center for Christian Leadership)
Let's repeat this: they had to SECRETLY buy the tomb space from someone, prepare an ossuary over a year’s period and then choose to adorn this ossuary of Jesus with graffiti-like script to name their dead hero. Surely if they had a year to prepare honoring Jesus, whom they had highly regarded, they would have adorned his ossuary with more than a mere graffiti like description.
Ben Witherington III [post 1, 2, 3] (Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky)
Mary Magdalene is called ‘Maria’ constantly in first century Christian literature, and indeed well into the second century as well. She is never called Mariamene or the like.
Andreas Köstenberger (Professor of New Testament and Director of Ph.D./Th.M. Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Editor of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society)

If you had been Jesus and (for argument’s sake) had had a son, would you have named him Judas (same as Judah or Jude), like the man who betrayed you?

New York Times (NYT again and better reasoned, see below)
And his logic can seem like circular — to the point of fallacious — reasoning.
In other words, because this is Jesus’ tomb, the nearby tombs are likely those of his followers; because those nearby tombs are likely those of his followers, this must be the tomb of Jesus.

Washington Post (excellent, thanks to Daniel from Dr. Witherington's blog)
"I'm not a Christian. I'm not a believer. I don't have a dog in this fight," said William G. Dever, who has been excavating ancient sites in Israel for 50 years and is widely considered the dean of biblical archaeology among U.S. scholars. "I just think it's a shame the way this story is being hyped and manipulated."
Herald Sun (Australia)
Christianity Today
National Geographic
Discovery Channel
Chicago Tribune (with no outside research or sources cited)
Rob Tornoe (political cartoonist, best cartoon of the controversy)

The Jesus Tomb

This is a duplicate of my post on a blog dedicated to our junior high staff:

Thanks to Erik for pointing this out! As it happens, one of my professors was supposed to be at the press conference and couldn't make it, but he's already seen the documentary and has some excellent comments here. Watch for more from him here. Seminary comes in handy!

For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, James Cameron (director of Titanic) is hosting a documentary on the Discovery Channel this Sunday. The promo asks, "If the bones of Jesus were found in Jerusalem, would that destroy the Christian faith?" They believe they have indeed found them, and those of his wife and son. Yes, that would pose quite a problem, since we believe in a BODILY resurrection and all!

Relax. They didn't find what they think they found. But there will be quite a bit of media attention on this in the next couple of days and you may even get some difficult questions from students. Remind them that we never need to fear a real search for truth.

Dr. Bock said this morning in class, "It's like a 21 slide PowerPoint presentation and each slide is contested. For the claim to be true, every slide must build from the one before." Take a peek at his blog or feel free to direct students there to read along with you. If you'd prefer a quick overview, here's a sampling of highlights:
1-It is almost untenable that a Jewish family from Galilee would purchase a family tomb in Jerusalem.
2-The names being used are not agreed upon--there are some significant difficulties with the equating of Mariamne with Mary Magdalene.
3-There is no agreement that this is actually a family tomb.
4-You'll have to see his post the rest, including some truth about DNA evidence. Be sure and go to the main blog as well for his updates. You'll hear him quoted quite a bit this week.

SO, since we're looking at Jesus and comparing him to who the culture thinks He is on Sundays, we're going to hit this head on in class on Sunday. I'll play some video from either CNN or Discovery and we'll let the kids try to help find solutions. As always, you're welcome to come (especially if you're on the Sunday Team)!

[staff meeting reminder removed]

UPDATE: There's a good article here, including an observation by a prominent Jewish scholar. AND, this blog (Ben Witherington, PhD.) is also full of excellent material for dealing with the claims. Be sure and look through the many comments and responses (Dr. Witherington is a friend of Dr. Bock).

UPDATE 2: Ben Witherington has finished the book that will accompany Sunday's documentary (wow, I know) and has an excellent new post on his blog. The arguments are concise and pointed and include an except from an email Dr. Bock read in class yesterday describing some problems with the "Mariamne" derivation being suggested. This is my new "go to" for laying out the case with precision.

Book Search

Ok, I know this outs my nerdness, but it's just cool. I've known Google was working on it, but I had no idea of its power until last weekend, when I was doing some research on a Greek word and really needed to check its use by Herodotus. Seriously. I warned you. Anyway, I was having trouble with Perseus (long story) and Ι was desperate. I typed in "Herodotus" and "σκῆπτρον" (it didn't find the word I needed, but I knew this one was used with it--not perfect, but still cool). It brought up the reference I needed--to the paragraph--and highlighted. Amazing.

It's a rare day you need a word like that, BUT imagine trying to find a quote, or a famous line. OR imagine tracking down a primary source. And you'll be amazed at how much material they already have online. Many things with expired copyrights are out there as usual, but there are just as many newer books either being allowed or ignored. For you theologians, there is a surprising amount of biblical material (think of those old commentary citations you've wanted to track down--like Baur and Schlier). Of course, a lot of it is German!


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