Posts

Showing posts from 2020

Did Jesus Speak Greek?

Throughout Jesus’ ministry we see some very interesting examples of interactions that seem to make far more sense if they happened in Greek. For example, Jesus’ conversation with Pilate at his interrogation (Mark 15:2-3, Matthew 27:11-14, Luke 23:2-4, John 18:29-38), his conversation with the Roman centurion (Matthew 8:5-13, John 4:46-54), or his interaction with the Syrophoenician (or Canaanite gentile) woman (Mark 7:25-30, Matthew 15:21-28). These examples make the most sense if, taking into considering both the flow of the conversation (as it’s recorded in the Greek gospels) as well as who these individual Jesus is speaking to are, speaking Greek specifically and not Aramaic or Hebrew.

Either way, the language spoken at that time was a bit of a mix. For example, in Matthew 5:22 it is recorded that Jesus says “But whoever says to his brother' ‘Raca’ will be liable to the Sanhedrin.” If Jesus spoke these words in Aramaic, he used the Greek-origin word “Sanhedrin” in the sentence…

New Old Torah Scroll

"ASHKAR-GILSON 2 is a Torah scroll sheet possibly dated before 800 C.E. Unlike the new Library of Congress manuscript, this fragment is not fully legible without the help of modern technologies.
[...]
Nevertheless, the oldest complete Torah manuscripts are in the codex form; the most authoritative being the famous Aleppo Codex, dating to about 920 C.E., and the St. Petersburg Codex (formerly, Leningrad Codex), which dates to 1009 C.E.

The few surviving Torah scrolls that are this old are all very fragmentary and almost illegible. It is thus exciting to find a very old, well-preserved Torah scroll, even if it’s only a fragment, a single sheet. One such treasure has recently augmented the collection of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. As Gary Rendsburg, Chair of Jewish History at Rutgers University, explains in the November/December 2019 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, this Torah manuscript is the oldest complete Torah scroll sheet fully legible to the naked eye.

Once …

The Empirical Study of Mystical Experience (2) : Brain Structure Objection

Image
The major objection to the universality argument stems from a vast movement that has arisen just since the turn of the century, the rapidly expanding field of Neuro-theology (or Cognative Science of Religion):

In recent years a number of books have been published in the United States which argue that religious experiences and activities can be measured as neural activity in the brain...these theories purport to explain why there are common patterns of religious behavior and experience across culture which are observable in the field of comparative religion..Most such theories assert that as our understanding the brains activities develop through exploration of its underlying structures and mechanisms so the origin of religious experiences and ritual behavior will be revealed...These theorioes purport to explain why there are common paterns of religious behaviors and experience across cultures.[1]

R. Joseph states, “that The brain underlies all experience of living human beings is an abs…

The Depths Of Value

"During the Iraq war, a woman soldier lost her hand when it was blown off by an explosive device that landed near her. As she was being rushed to the hospital, she kept crying out, not for the hand she had lost but for the ring that was on that hand—her wedding ring. One of her fighting mates returned to the place, found the hand, and brought back the ring.

What an amazing transposition of values. The ring was the band that symbolized her love and union with her husband. In a dramatic realization of what really mattered, she could live without the hand but wept for the loss of the symbol of the spiritual bond of love.

In some of life’s most defining moments, we find depths of value that shallow moments never reveal. Squandering our existence in the shallow end of life, we miss all that is found in the deep end of discovery and beauty."

Ravi Zacharias, Jesus Among Secular Gods, p.173

The Empirical Study of Mystical Experience (1 of 2)

Image
Dr. Ralph Hood JR inventor of the M cal


Part 1: The "M" Scale



This article is a summary my book, the Trace of God by Joseph Hinman (available on Amazon). I recentlyposted essays showing that the true Christian concept of Supernatural is mystical experience nothing more. Now I show mystical experience is empirical, thus SN is empirical. I wrote this for an academic conference,  it was accepted. I posted it in two parts that's I'm uniting them here.



The argument from religious experience is deemed too subjective to be of any real interest to rationally minded skeptics. Yet over the last 50 years, a huge body of empirical scientific work has emerged in peer reviewed journals that strengthens the case for religious experience as a God argument. Unfortunately, this body of work is largely confined to psychology of religion and is virtually unknown to theology or even religious studies. In this paper I examine the research methods used in this body of work, particular attenti…