uno itinere non potest perveniri ad tam grande secretum -- Q. Aurelius Symmachus, 384 C.E.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Grand Scheme of Things: Narrative Deceit in the Greek Novel

This is a talk I gave as part of the Fall Colloquium series at the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Minnesota, where I am completing my Ph.D. For the handout that accompanied this talk, please click here. If you wish to follow along with a text of the paper, it can be found here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cycle of Absurdity: Media Hype, Apologetic Backlash Overshadow Another Find From Antiquity

When I heard that Professor Karen L. King had announced a papyrus fragment that makes reference to Jesus' wife, I was at first excited and fascinated. But that was immediately followed by a reflexive foreboding. Having studied antiquity, including early Christianity, for the past decade, I've seen what typically follows such a discovery, and within 24 hours, my concerns were proved right.

The fragment that King announced is the size of a business card and only contains about a dozen lines total. But it appears to distinctly refer to Jesus' wife (as well as his mother). King acknowledges the reference to his "wife" might be one to the Church, but notes that with talk of his mother (by name) and his wife as a "disciple," that seems unlikely.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Of Satan and Sex Tanks

All the rage nowadays among fundamentalist Christians is an emphasis on "manhood," masculinity, and manliness, which they of course think is next to godliness. From Mark Driscoll to a plethora of lesser-known wannabes, everybody's telling American males to man up.

This is none too surprising. Changing attitudes about sex and gender have almost always incurred backlash, and Driscoll et al. are really just following traditionalist (albeit modified) ideologies on these scores in the face of changing attitudes, and they are then rationalizing them with convenient Bible verses (while ignoring or explaining away the inconvenient ones).

So it was with little shock, yet persistent awe, that I learned about the new talked-about book "Date Your Wife" by Justin Buzzard. I have not read this book. But from what I read of his recent treatment running down some of its particulars, I'm guessing I wouldn't make it through very many chapters without the unique nausea that only outdated, belligerent sexism can promote.