Re: Go Gators

1

I know the stats are for the NFL and not college.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:23 AM
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That's why I like football on TV. You can drink, eat, and visit the bathroom without missing anything.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:34 AM
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Stats like this are good reason to watch soccer.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:37 AM
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2: On the other hand, if you don't watch at all you're hardly missing anything.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:38 AM
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Watching football is so much more sociable than watching soccer, though, because of all these nice breaks. Watching soccer is like playing a video game on your little handheld video game unit, but watching football is like playing wii with a big group of friends.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:40 AM
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3, 4: Commies.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:41 AM
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2: cricket is far superior. You can drink, eat, visit the bathroom, go shopping, meet up with friends, go for a coffee, have something to eat, go on to a bar, meet the love of your life, start talking, have a drink, go dancing, go home, talk on the phone all night, go away for the weekend, move in together, argue, break up, make up, pick out a ring, propose, get married, go on honeymoon, buy a house, and have a child without missing anything.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:41 AM
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but watching football is like playing wii with a big group of friends.

That is, watching football with other people.

Watching football alone is like playing Rock Band by yourself and having to sit around and offer yourself nachos in between sets.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:41 AM
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8: Try, try, masturbate, nachos.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:45 AM
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7: I don't know anybody to watch cricket with and my alma mater does not have a team.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:45 AM
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I do think that my life would be improved if universities in Florida and Texas would switch from football to cricket.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:59 AM
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11: better given the climate, too. Florida's no place to be running around in armour.

Watching football alone is like playing Rock Band by yourself and having to sit around and offer yourself nachos in between sets.

The core market for the next spinoff, Emo Boy.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:04 AM
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You spend about 30 seconds looking up scriptures that players have referenced on their face paint.

I have a long essay, buried in my heart, decrying the devolution of Christianity in America to the point at which chapter-and-verse quotations are the chief qualifications of modern believers in the minds of the secular and the irony that much of the preaching that such people hear in church either doesn't quote the N.T. at all or relies heavily on the scariest parts of Revelation, but I'll just say that football broadcast directors vastly, vastly overestimate the charisma of football fans, especially the ones in costumes.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:07 AM
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Speaking of football fans and biblical verses, this is both topical and one of my favorite "Straight Dope" columns.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:12 AM
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My theology colleague was on the search committee for our football coach. He said "My only real condition is that the football coach not undo everything that I try to teach them in Theo."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:13 AM
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Wow to the link in 14.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:16 AM
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15: Does your theology colleague like to rush on 3rd and long?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:18 AM
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All-white basketball will be properly sedate and gentlemanly.

(Also cricket is apparently being baseball-ized, based on what I've seen in India, especially in its cinematography, and in the introduction of Twenty20.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:21 AM
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George Will: "Football combines the two worst things about America: it is violence punctuated by committee meetings." Of course he's a huge baseball fan....


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:24 AM
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19: in a similar vein, you could say that cricket is bitter rivalry concealed beneath a veneer of politeness and mitigated by tea...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:26 AM
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(Also cricket is apparently being baseball-ized, based on what I've seen in India, especially in its cinematography, and in the introduction of Twenty20.)

Sadly true. Although the recent England/S.Africa series reminded us of the seat-edge-gripping thrill of the five day draw (no result).


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:35 AM
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Flippanter is on fire recently. I don't know if you're working yet, but you have mastery of the field of blog commenting.

Personally, I've always felt that Celtics/Red Sox Masshole fans are some of the worst people on earth, but I never expected them to ruin the country quite so obviously or dramatically.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:56 AM
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much of the preaching that such people hear in church either doesn't quote the N.T. at all

Actually, a lot of Evangelical churches, especially Baptist ones, quote loads of scripture in the sermons -- sometimes by PowerPoint. Members carry well-worn Bibles to services so they can follow along in the pews and to show how different they are from Catholics. And a lot of believing Evangelicals have committed wicked amounts of Bible verses to memory.

The irony I'd point out is that chapter-and-verse quotation is a really shitty way to understand scripture, a casual disregard for the integrity of what is supposedly God's word.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 11:05 AM
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Football didn't always used to be like this. I wonder what it would be like to watch a football game with no substitutions or TV time-outs and a continuous clock.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 11:07 AM
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quote loads of scripture in the sermons -- sometimes by PowerPoint.

Martin Luther's 95 slides projected onto a white screen nailed to the door of the church in Wittenberg?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 11:09 AM
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24: I watched the Australian Rugby League finals on Spike TV during the G20 protest. Probably something like that. I was captivated pretty quickly.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 11:09 AM
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26: only with the forward pass too! I spent a brief injury-free period as a rugby player, and enjoyed watching the games. But I think it would be even more fun to just watch football really speeded up. And where everyone had to play offense, defense, and special teams.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 11:15 AM
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23: Yeah, it seems to me that the thing the Baptist church doesn't do, that it needs to, is to teach methodologies of interpretation. I guess the Spirit is supposed to teach you how to understand what you read, but in the absence of a set of reading strategies, scripture-learning becomes fetishistic. The words don't mean anything; they're just shibboleths or something to say when you're tired of coming up with your own sentences.

But yeah, I was surprised by 13, too. The Christians I know are especially obsessed with quoting the more annoying parts of Paul. They do actually know the gospels very well, but don't quote them as much. Part of it is the political incongruities between Christ and Republicanism, but I also think it's just that he's hard to understand and apply, while Paul is (a) an asshole, and (b) very clear. If being Christlike was easy, Christianity wouldn't be universally recognized as a global 2000-year hypocrisy.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 11:17 AM
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27. Google Aussie Rules and watch a few videos. Sounds like what you're after.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 11:26 AM
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23, 28: I was thinking of the megachurches where the preaching seems to be polo-shirted and platitudinous.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 11:29 AM
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Reading is bad, it destroys your faith, or so my aunt's new parish priest told her in an argument on his inaugural meet and greet tour. (Meet the new priest, just like the old dead wingnut secret police informer one. And by wingnut, well let's just say that JPII was very much on the liberal wing of the Polish Church.) So you shouldn't be looking up anything.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 11:39 AM
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let's just say that JPII was very much on the liberal wing of the Polish Church.

Jesus Christ I'll be damned Wow.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:01 PM
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I wonder what it would be like to watch a football game with no substitutions

For starters, a lot more guys dying from heat exhaustion on television. Which is something, I guess.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:02 PM
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Right, I think the kind of experience described by Flippanter in 30 is now by far the most common in the megachurches (Warren, Osteen). Though reading highly selective passages without any kind of interpretive framework (or, just as often, a bad or extremely esoteric interpretive framework) is just as common. It's very hard to just sit down and read the New Testament and come away with a sense that it is more concerned with sexual morality than with radical egalitarianism or universal empathy.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:06 PM
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I watched almost a whole quarter of the Rose Bowl, which was the first football I'd seen in a couple of years. It wasn't all that compelling.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:15 PM
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It's definitely true that the literature sold for Sunday School classes really blows and is anti-Biblical, even the stuff written for Baptists. Both my parents teach classes, and they refuse to use the books assigned to them because they actually want to spend class time studying the Bible. The trouble is, if you don't know any Hebrew and you don't know anything about ancient history or exegetical tradition, and you're all "Hey let's do a study of II Kings!" on the faith that the Holy Spirit will tell you how to interpret it, you're kind of screwed.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:16 PM
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And I haven't been to church, other than for weddings and funerals, since I was about 8. Why am I in this thread?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:18 PM
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Hey, teraz, that reminds of something I've wondered. I know someone from Poland who regards herself as Catholic, but hates Catholic priests with a fury that no Protestant could muster. It was based entirely on her experience with priests in Poland. Is that typical? Atypical?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:19 PM
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23 and 28 are pretty much in accord with my experience.

One thing I've noticed in most of the fundie sermons I've heard is that they usually take a verse or two from the bible and then pick it to death, jumping all over the bible to find other verses that somehow illuminate the meaning of the verse being preached on. Often this jumping around for "context" turns the meaning of the verse into something orthogonal or even opposite to the plain and obvious meaning it has in the context of the passage in which it is embedded.

I was strongly reminded if this mode of interpretation when watching Betsy "Death Panels" McCaughey on The Daily Show. Her whole approach was to jump around the bill, ignore context, redefine words, and generally bluster through to the desired conclusion. This is how you reconcile "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven" with "Greed is Good."


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:22 PM
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the irony that much of the preaching that such people hear in church either doesn't quote the N.T. at all or relies heavily on the scariest parts of Revelation

Catholic preaching, i.e., "the homily," is usually based on that day's scripture readings, of which there usually are four: O.T., psalm (often sung), Epistle or Acts, and Gospel. I think those readings follow a multi-year cycle. When I was young it was always a break to hear some Revelations - especailly compared to some of the ideas in the O.T. or Paul, for example.

In a lifetime a regular at Mass hears much of the Bible read aloud. The hurdle is that you have to be a regular at Mass. Other challenges, even for believers, are that the readings are chopped up and the preaching is often quite dreadful. From an intellectual perspective (putting aside one's belief or lack thereof in what happens at the Eucharist), the unadorned Bible readings are the high point of the Mass and the preaching is often the lowest point.

On preview, I also agree with Halford's last thought in 34.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:25 PM
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40: It's a three year cycle. Obviously, you don't get the whole of the OT.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:32 PM
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The readings in Catholic or Anglican services are so weirdly choppy to me. They feel like movie previews, but you never get to the whole movie. And then there's the challenge of hearing them read aloud, not having a text to read from yourself, and trying to figure out what (if anything) the different readings have to do with each other. A different tradition that what I come from.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:32 PM
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39: Yeah, there is a specifically Christian kind of "close reading" that is extremely predictable and stupid. Last year I sat through one of the worst sermons I've ever heard, in which the visiting preacher went through a single verse, word by word, for 45 minutes, asking us if we'd ever really thought about that word, because he bets not. Before I slipped into an intellectual coma, he was going on about the word "grasp," and told about five different stories in which someone or something grasped something. "Have you ever seen an eagle's talons grrrrasssssp a mouse?"

There is the related problem of Christian-style philology. It's pretty easy to lie to Christians about what the Hebrew or Greek word means or implies in any case, so they do this a lot to sound smart. The best example of this I can think of is one whose only record on the internet is under my own name, so I won't link. But it happens all the time in my parents' church, where they seem to think their pastor is some kind of linguistic genius. I've presented evidence to show that he's a charlatan who knows absolutely nothing about classical Hebrew, to which my parents respond that I can't hold regular ordinary human beings to my standards of excellence. See, it's important that he's smarter than them, but also important that he's not actually intelligent at all.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:34 PM
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42: Nearly all Catholic churches will have a missal with the text of the readings.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:37 PM
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Re 42, I agree, and the lack of preaching tradition in both the Anglican and Catholic worlds makes the problem worse. My nontraditional Epsicopal church went off of the traditional lectionary, and switched from 4 separate readings to just doing a single reading, of a single NT book, in order every week. Works much better.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:40 PM
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Other challenges, even for believers, are that the readings are chopped up and the preaching is often quite dreadful. From an intellectual perspective (putting aside one's belief or lack thereof in what happens at the Eucharist), the unadorned Bible readings are the high point of the Mass and the preaching is often the lowest point.

I think this will vary drastically from parish to parish, priest to priest. I've gotten homilies from Georgetown Jesuits that are like spoken essays with very complicated argumentative structure.

Re: 44. I think the cycle also includes what gets read in weekday masses, right?


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:41 PM
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There is the related problem of Christian-style philology.

I have a Chick comic -- not one of the little 2-color pamphlets, but the full-size 4-color comic books -- where the main fellow's descent in to crime and long-haired hippiedom is precipitated by a professor at his bible college telling him that the KJV is "not what the Greek really says." NOW WHAT IS THE POINT OF BELIEVING ANYTHING? ANYTHING!? Through a series of prison visits from a nice Christian who reassures him about the lies of those uppity Greek professors at bible college he is rehabilitated and cuts his hair.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:46 PM
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44: That is good to know. The texts are still all choppy in the missal, though, right? The Protestant in me wants a plain Bible, and maybe you put the coördinates of the day's readings up on a board like the numbers of the hymns so everyone can follow along. (There's also something really cool about the system of readings in that you end up getting weird passages that nobody would otherwise choose to read in church. I also like the idea of basing a sermon on a text that's just given you by the calendar, although I've never seen it done properly in my very limited experience.)


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:46 PM
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You know, I hate hypocritical fake Xtians as much as the next fellow, but it has to be said that such kind of devolution was pretty much inevitable as soon as Christianity became a religion of empire. I mean, to run a society like this, there's a big chunk of the population that's basically got to behave like mindless wingnuts, but here's the thing: that's not natural. The masses aren't asses. They have to be convinced, and that conviction has to be constantly reinforced. So that's why you have your megachurches and your storefront revivals and what not.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:47 PM
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46: I'd forgotten about those. I had to look at Wikipedia. The daily masses are a separate two-year cycle.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:48 PM
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50: But that's exactly it. My own frustration with the Baptists is that they're supposed to be the anti-hierarchical, anti-political radicals. The church was founded on the necessity of the separation of church and state, and on the priesthood of all believers. So now they have gotten sucked into mindless partisanship and they practically worship the leadership of the Convention? I'm not saying that Baptist preachers should all have PhDs in Classics, but that they shouldn't pretend to know things they don't for the purpose of perverting church doctrine.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:54 PM
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The Catholic lectionary (order of readings) is, with some slight modifications, the same one used in many mainline Protestant churches. The selection of texts does tend to be pretty choppy, but it gets you to the familiar Christmas readings around Christmastime, same for Easter, etc.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:54 PM
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51 to 49


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:54 PM
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You know, I hate hypocritical fake Xtians as much as the next fellow, but it has to be said that such kind of devolution was pretty much inevitable as soon as Christianity became a religion of empire.

I like James Carroll as much as the next admirer of Hans Küng, but I'm not going to blame Constantine for crappy American preaching.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:56 PM
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54: Just Keanu Reeves?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:57 PM
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Did you mean the emperor, not the movie?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:58 PM
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51: Bring back the Diggers!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:59 PM
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55: Alan Moore is still spinning in his grave snake-god Glycon's basement cavern. Fun fact: When you spin Alan Moore, his beard looks like cotton candy! I wouldn't eat it, though.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 12:59 PM
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Hey Lawyers, is the league linked to in 18 legal under the Civil Rights Act? How would you prosecute that?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:00 PM
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57: We will not worship the god you serve, the god of greed who feeds the rich while poor men starve?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:04 PM
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57: Seriously. 17th-c Protestants are the shit.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:04 PM
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59: Limiting employment to white players is a straightforward EEO violation, but it would be surprising if they ever got far enough off the ground to get sued.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:06 PM
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59: I'm not convinced that story is legit.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:07 PM
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51 is right, and there is a tremendous amount of radicali potential in both Christian practice in general and Protestantism in particular. However, IMO the Southern Baptists gave up their claim to radical practice at leas twice, first when they decided to go all-in with the Slaveocracy, and then with the 1970s-1980s conservative revival.

Anglicanism is in many ways, of course, historically the most "imperial" denomination of all, although the current stance of the ECUSA means that it's now a locus of resistence. Theology, history, and politics link up in weird ways.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:09 PM
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The Grimke sisters learned ancient languages to read the Bible. And became Quakers and feminists and abolitionists. Mainline churches can't let that happen too often.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:09 PM
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Seriously. 17th-c Protestants are the shit.

"God made Sun and Moon to distinguish seasons, and day, and night, and we cannot have the fruits of the earth but in their seasons: But God hath made no decree to distinguish the seasons of his mercies; In paradise, the fruits were ripe, the first minute, and in heaven it is alwaies Autumne, his mercies are ever in their maturity. We ask panem quotidianum, our daily bread, and God never sayes you should have come yesterday, he never sayes you must againe to morrow, but to day if you will heare his voice, to day he will heare you. If some King of the earth have so large an extent of Dominion, in North, and South, as that he hath Winter and Summer together in his Dominions, so large an extent East and West, as that he hath day and night together in his Dominions, much more hath God mercy and judgement together: He brought light out of darknesse, not out of a lesser light; he can bring thy Summer out of Winter, though thou have no Spring; though in the wayes of fortune, or understanding, or conscience, thou have been benighted till now, wintred and frozen, clouded and eclypsed, damped and benummed, smothered and stupefied till now, now God comes to thee, not as in the dawning of the day, not as in the bud of the spring, but as the Sun at noon to illustrate all shadowes, as the sheaves in harvest, to fill all penuries, all occasions invite his mercies, and all times are his seasons."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:10 PM
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When I was young it was always a break to hear some Revelations

When I was a child at Mass, hearing a passage from Revelations was almost as good as seeing Spider-Man's origin episode on TV. I waited for them both with the same degree of eagerness, pretty much.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:16 PM
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For starters, a lot more guys dying from heat exhaustion on television. Which is something, I guess.

Did I really need to stipulate to appropriate conditioning? Obviously the players would get smaller and leaner. It's not like this hasn't been done before - it's the freaking history of the sport.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:36 PM
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68: Back then, nobody lived in Florida, so it was safer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:37 PM
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"True religion and undefiled is this, To make restitution of the earth which hath been taken and held from the common people by the power of Conquests formerly and so set the oppressed free." -Winstanley


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:39 PM
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Obviously the players would get smaller and leaner.

Sure, but Darwinian natural selection is a hell of a way to reform the sport.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:41 PM
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Well something's got to be done. At the rate things are going, tight ends will soon be raiding the countryside and gobbling all the sheep at night.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:46 PM
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The minute the tight ends cross the fence and start gobbling sheep, France turns the Eastern Seaboard radioactive.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:51 PM
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At the rate things are going, tight ends will soon be raiding the countryside and gobbling all the sheep at night.

One of my favorite similes in sportswriting was when a writer compared an NFL rookie to "an overturned SUV."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 1:57 PM
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Hearing the Dr. King speech that Nosflow linked to recently reminded me of just how good a really good sermon can be - inspiring, thoughtful, intellectual but accessible. But obviously, we can't all be MLK.

My experiences with fundamentalist evangelicals (members of Covenant churches) during college is that they knew the bible very well and had read it entirely through many times, which is much the opposite of what many of you seem to have experienced. During small group study, they (we) tended to walk through the history and context of the piece under study - so, placing one of Paul's letters within the larger context of where Paul was, what the major issues of the day and region were, etc. They recognized and discussed the radical power of the early religion - I remember a seemingly endless discussion about living as a true Christian and how that necessitated giving up possessions and in some cases, family ties. Many of the people working for Intervarsity on campus were living lives of relative poverty and service.

I was lucky to run into the better sort of Christian, but certainly not all evangelicals have abandoned close reading of the texts. And of course, I had numerous frustrating conversations about reconciling evolution and the bible and our political beliefs did not align.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 4:33 PM
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There's an interesting book about the Baptists during the 18th century in America - Disorderly Women. If I remember correctly, the Baptists abandoned their attempts at gender equity quite soon after the Revolution. It's tough being a radical religion - turns out that very few want to live like that.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 4:36 PM
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38 It's common (my mom's family for example). A lot depends on experience with parish priests; a small minority are pretty liberal, and some of those who aren't are decent people. But it is the state religion with the episcopate deeply involved in politics. Not just like here in the US, but in things like coalition building or dealing with intraparty rivalries. Plus it is wound up with national identity. There also isn't any real alternative except for full on pentecostal. No mainline Protestants except for a tiny Lutheran minority in the southwest which doesn't proselytize at all, and the Jehovahs and Mormons. So if you believe you're going to stay Catholic and hate the Church and its minions.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 5:02 PM
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But obviously, we can't all be MLK.

Bullshit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:16 PM
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Yeah, I bet we can copy others' writings just as well. (Cheap shot, I know.)


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:19 PM
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Damn. I guess his day has passed; it's open season now!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:27 PM
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Too bad the World Wars hit just as German immigrants were getting established in the U.S. If that hadn't interfered, they'd have probably gotten a 'day' like the Irish got St. Patrick's Day and the Italians got Columbus Day. Then we could have had Martin Luther Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:31 PM
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There's always a crowd of the DC German community for St Martin's at the Deutsche Schule.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:37 PM
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Aren't the St. Pat's, Pulaski, and Columbus day products of the urban machines? And I thought the German city population was declining in importance by them. In any case, lots of them were Catholic so I'm not sure Martin Luther would have been a consensus choice.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:43 PM
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There were some major German celebrations in some 19th century cities, I think. (I don't know what days, though.) As Moby says, the war probably ended whatever momentum there would have been to lobby for a nationalized holiday.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:45 PM
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83: Yes, plenty were Catholic. Possibly even most of them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:51 PM
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It's time we nationalize all holidays! The private market cannot deliver them effectively!


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 7:57 PM
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There were some major German celebrations in some 19th century cities

And now all they get is the local FM station hosting Rocktoberfest.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 8:08 PM
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I think New York should schedule all the ethnic group parades for the same day and let them fight it out, Highlander-style.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 8:28 PM
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Chicago has German Day. It's like none of you has even seen Ferris Bueller.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 8:29 PM
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Not to mention the Von Steuben parades in other cities, and the federal German-American Day, honoring the settlers of Germantown Pennsylvania. Is there an Italiantown Pennsylvania? No there is not.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 8:32 PM
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90: I see that it (German-American Day) died out because of WWI, so at least I'm partially right.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 8:34 PM
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Yes, but it was reinstated at that war's conclusion in 1983.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 8:37 PM
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Why am I defending the set-up to a bad pun?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 8:40 PM
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If you don't, who will?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 8:43 PM
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I don't even own a Ferris Bueller.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:01 PM
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Did somebody already link to this?

Coded references to New Testament Bible passages about Jesus Christ are inscribed on high-powered rifle sights provided to the U.S. military by a Michigan company, an ABC News investigation has found.

And then the military spokesperson defends it by saying it's no different than having "In God We Trust" on our money.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:15 PM
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Presumably "thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" and such.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:19 PM
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They should have renamed it Liberty-American day.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:25 PM
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Is there an Italiantown Pennsylvania?

No, but South Philly is still sufficiently Italian that I overheard a hilarious conversation in which one party was attempting unsuccessfully to communicate the idea of "Nepali" as in "the country of Nepal" as in "Nepalese" to someone who clearly had only ever heard of Naples, Italy.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:37 PM
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99: But Philly has a suburb called "King of Prussia" but not "King of Piedmont" or something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:43 PM
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So, I'm a bad Catholic. Why is Paul considered the jerk gospel?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:47 PM
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It's not like there are any German speakers in Pennsylvania.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:49 PM
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Oh, wait, I'm supporting MH. I was supposed to be snarking at him. Oh well.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:49 PM
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Paul is not the jerk gospel.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:53 PM
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101: Paul didn't write the gospels and appears in none of them. He did write the plurality of the NT.

His letters contain many of the verses used to justify the more stringent interpretations of Christianity. They also have that whole "Love is patient, Love is kind..." reading that you hear at pretty much any Catholic wedding and the "Faith Alone" stuff that was pretty much essential in starting Protestantism in the first place. I've always kind of liked Paul for a couple of reasons. First, current thinking is, I believe, that the first of his letters are the oldest, written parts of the NT. Second, he writes about a coat he left behind, and I like that reminder that his letters were, well, his letters.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:56 PM
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104: So what could AWB have meant with "quoting the more annoying parts of Paul"? I've seen this sort sentiment expressed elsewhere and am curious.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:57 PM
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Paul hated women, basically.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:58 PM
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Mwnage.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 9:58 PM
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Paul is writing in his letters to churches experiencing difficulties, and so he lists some things you could do to reduce strife in the community. Maybe he meant them as universal truths; maybe he didn't. But there's a lot in there about what to do about squabbling uppity ladies, like making sure they don't talk in church.

Frances Willard's book Woman in the Pulpit argues that, even if we are just comparing Paul with Paul, he contradicts himself quite often, especially w/r/t female leadership in the church. But he offers a lot of fodder for people who are counting on ladies not poking around too far in scripture.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:01 PM
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It's not like there are any German speakers in Pennsylvania.

That's okay, just go ahead and write off the 57,000 people who still speak German at home.[fn 1]

1. B16001. LANGUAGE SPOKEN AT HOME BY ABILITY TO SPEAK ENGLISH FOR THE POPULATION 5 YEARS AND OVER - Universe: POPULATION 5 YEARS AND OVER
Data Set: 2006-2008 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates
Survey: American Community Survey


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:02 PM
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103: I think I switched sides somehow. I didn't really mean to argue against 99. I just remembered the name of a mall I was at once.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:03 PM
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Or, more specifically, I don't know what annoyed AWB but the epistles attributed to Paul contain the passages that many followers interpret so as to prevent women from holding leadership positions in the church, and that women should remain silent in church. (He's also famed for his comment that it is better to marry than burn; he definitely helps create a suspect attitude toward sexuality.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:05 PM
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Well, gee, if I had just previewed I would have seen for myself what annoyed AWB.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:06 PM
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he definitely helps create a suspect attitude toward sexuality

Sounds like Clue. I suspect Sexuality, in the library, with the rope!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:08 PM
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110: I like that you're earnest enough to take that comment seriously enough to head for the statistics.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:08 PM
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a mall I was at once

You poor thing.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:08 PM
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115: There's a technical name for that.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:09 PM
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Earnest, or lazy and procrastinating. I probably know the ACS better than any non-demographer I've ever met.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:09 PM
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I did always like: "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." Paul had a way with aphorisms.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:10 PM
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119: Have I mentioned here the wedding I went to that used a different translation? I was very disturbed, and kind of surprised at myself for being disturbed. Somehow the majesty of it seemed muted.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:12 PM
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118: Then how many Pennsylvanians speak Italian home? I'm guessing more than 57k.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:12 PM
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it is better to marry than burn

And he also is the NT source for hating gays in the name of Christ. Jesus said basically nothing about sex, at all, except that people took it way too seriously.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:13 PM
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119: Obam is Paul!


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:13 PM
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a


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:13 PM
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Obam is Paula!


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:15 PM
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he also is the NT source for hating gays in the name of Christ.

Aha, I thought so but I wasn't sure and was too lazy to google.

It always surprises me that Paul had a relatively benign view of divorce. Doesn't seem to fit. (But, I suppose as AWB said above the letters are riddled with internal inconsistencies.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:16 PM
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Paul has a neat trick. He says the law has been abolished (Galatians). Then he lays down new ones (as in Ephesians). Paul's church would not suffer the adulterer to go unstoned.

I wonder what a Petrine church would have looked like. Probably not like much. I suspect it would have been just another Jewish sect and then vanished.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:17 PM
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Then how many Pennsylvanians speak Italian home?

And the survey says...53K and change.

I'd guess that's missing some Albanians, though. (Not that Albanians speak Italian at home, but many of them can speak Italian.)

Plus, you gotta remember that Pennsylvania's a big state. I'm pretty sure the Germans are more scattered than the Italians, even though the Italians have big and well-known communities. And we probably have steadier immigration from Germany than we do from Italy these days, especially when you count international students who stay.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:18 PM
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I thought Paul didn't actually write Ephesians.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:18 PM
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128: I do find that surprising, possibly because being partially of Italian descent means you tend to see a lot of other people of Italian descent.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:21 PM
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117: Librarian, I'm guessing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:22 PM
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Keep in mind that these aren't stats on ethnic heritage or even on nativity (that is, which country you were born in). They're about people who are sufficiently elderly/unassimilated/new-to-the-country/stubborn that they still speak the old language at home.

Numbers on Pennsylvanians with Italian heritage would be huge. Numbers on foreign-born Pennsylvanians from Italy would also likely be substantial.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:24 PM
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131: Actually, bookseller.

And on that note, I'm off to swim sleep.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:25 PM
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So how do they count single people? What language do I speak at home?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:26 PM
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133: Thanks for the stats.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:26 PM
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134: Klingon?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:27 PM
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You sing American.


Posted by: Walt Whitman | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:28 PM
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Ephesians is canonical. But only to the church. Scholars (wiki) say it is probably not Paul's.

They also say that Titus is probably not Paul's. Too bad. I like the use of Cretans are liars, says a Cretan. (Titus 1:12) Paul is completely unaware of the paradox.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:31 PM
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137 That's not what my Kindergarten teacher said when she chastised my parents.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:35 PM
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I'm guessing that the Amish account for a not insignificant number of those German speakers in PA. Too bad Witt's gone to sleep, otherwise she'd probably be able to answer that right quick. Also, my Italian grandfather's family stopped speaking Italian as soon as possible after emigrating to the US a little over a century ago, and I was always given to believe that that was because rapid assimilation was considered the thing to do at the time.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:36 PM
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I remember reading some of the gospels in the Douay-Reims (Challoner revision) translation in a medieval history class and thinking they were quite beautiful as literature at times. When I tried to read the Bible all the way through, I went with that translation, but stopped about one third of the way through the Old Testament.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:36 PM
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133: Actually, bookseller.

Really? Baffling.

Thanks to you all for the explanation about Paul, by the way.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:39 PM
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139: I'm not picturing teraz cursing his fellow Kindergartners in Polish.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:39 PM
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er, not s/b now


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:39 PM
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140: My Italian great-grandfather learned English as soon as possible, but his wife didn't learn until WWII made her want to learn. Grandma married a man who also grew-up speaking Italian, but they never taught the kids Italian because of the whole assimilation thing and because neither of them spoke the proper dialect of Italian nor the dialect that the other spoke. They could understand each other, but had parents from different regions.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:40 PM
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Thanks to you all for the explanation about Paul, by the way.

Yes, indeed. I had had the Paul wikipedia page pulled up in a tab that I was slowly reading over the course of several days, and I recently had someone close all my tabs including that and some unrelated but interesting articles I was looking at. DON'T CLOSE MY TABZ BRO.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:44 PM
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||

It's unsettling how the Rehnquist/Scalia writing style swings between stentorian and twee: in Johnson v. Transportation Agency, Santa Clara County, Scalia actually says "o'erleaps," and not while quoting anyone.

|>


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 10:58 PM
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So, per 105, Paul wrote the plurality of the NT -- some guy's letters form the major part of the New Testament? Letters in which he's musing about this and that, about uppity women and a variety of other things, no doubt.

Why or how have these become sanctified in whatever way it happened? Just sort of handed down? Forgive my ignorance.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 11:05 PM
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Now I'm even more confused than usual about what it is that Witt does.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 11:27 PM
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Makes outstanding comments. That's all you need to know.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 11:30 PM
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148: some guy's letters form the major part of the New Testament?

Yup. And there are a bunch of letters by other dudes, as well. I think the only non-letter parts are the four gospels, another book Luke wrote for good measure (traditionally attributed to Luke, anyway; I know nothing about scholarship on who wrote what), and the one utterly batshit crazy book at the end.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 11:32 PM
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150: I think this means we all get to be more earnest.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 11:36 PM
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"Why or how have these become sanctified in whatever way it happened? Just sort of handed down? Forgive my ignorance."

I was under the impression that it was decided at big church councils, but it looks like those mostly just formalized what was already there, and a lot of it just came together organically. There's a lengthy and interesting-looking Wikipedia article, which I will now read in the hope that it will lull me to sleep.

(I tried to sleep like two hours ago but now I'm hyper-awake because the answer to a research problem that's been puzzling me for weeks hit me just as I was about to get to sleep. My subconscious needs to learn some lessons about timing.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 11:39 PM
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Makes outstanding comments. That's all you need to know.

Indeed she does.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 11:39 PM
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Did I put those quotation marks there in 153? Apparently I did. Weird.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 11:41 PM
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This place sure has changed.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-20-10 11:47 PM
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Paul's letters form the majority of the NT because he hijacked Christianity, with his oh so convenient road to Damascus conversion. He made it establishment, though he was also in large part responsible for making it into more than just a Jewish sect by allowing gentiles to join as well.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:00 AM
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only non-letter parts

Numbers?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:01 AM
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157: Ah. I watched a documentary about that not long ago. There was a great deal of fighting over the question of circumcision, as I recall.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:15 AM
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He made it establishment, though he was also in large part responsible for making it into more than just a Jewish sect by allowing gentiles to join as well.

So if you let the goyim in, first they take the organization over and then they take over the world?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:18 AM
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I think there's also some debate over how many of the letters attributed to him Paul actually wrote. Apparently the first letter to Timothy, which is one of the most misogynistic, is widely regarded as fake.

(Timothy, opens inbox, reads: "Hey, Paul, some fucker's been spoofing your account!")


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:31 AM
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Has this been linked yet?

||

http://bloodandtreasure.typepad.com/blood_treasure/2010/01/on-the-necessity-of-antiamericanism.html

>


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:37 AM
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162. Jamie has been blazing with all guns since his 48 hour hiaitus. Excellent points all. However, IMO whatever the rest of the world does about this situation, Britain is fucked because both major parties are essentially established on the basis of deference to the US State Department, and because of the mindless anti-Europeanism of the MSM.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:45 AM
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re: 163

Britain is fucked because both major parties are essentially established on the basis of deference to the US State Department, and because of the mindless anti-Europeanism of the MSM.

Yes, definitely, to all that.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:47 AM
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I've been surprised that the US hasn't provoked an anti-US coalition already, but if anything like what Jamie suggests came about, the US would go completely ape-shit. It would be a bad time all around.

And to be fair to the Democrats, while they certainly have the power to pass legislation, the maneuvers necessary to do so are closer to what the House of Commons had to do to pass the 1832 Reform Bill rather than passing an ordinary piece of legislation. They have to do it because otherwise the country is fucked, but it's not trivial.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:29 AM
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Kid not sleeping, Walt? Sorry about that.

Describing it as "Anti-Americanism" is deliberately provocative. However, in case of a Palinesque (not Romney) administration it would certainly be necessary:

i. for the rest of NATO to be seen not to endorse further imperial crazyness by the United States. The American right makes much of the fact that the US provides a disproportionate amount of the resources to NATO, but this is very largely beccause since 1989 NATO has largely acted specifically in American interests (don't assume that British acquiescence reflects European views much). In fact, since the death of Stalin, most European governments largely discounted the possibility of Soviet aggression - Soviet grand strategy was to insulate the USSR behind a Maginot line of client states against the possibility of German (West) resurgence, and squat there while playing economic games in the third world - and adjusted their military approach accordingly.

ii. to do something about the dollar. Again, this has already started, we have been through a period when the preferred reserve currency has swung between the dollar and the euro and back. But we need to get to a point where the US no longer has a veto in the institutions. This will involve China, at least in the medium term. The Americans might not like this, but in terms of going ape-shit, there may not be much they can do except hold their breath until their faces turn blue.

In terms of what the Dems need to do to pass legislation, if they need to resort to threatening a creation of peers (what's the equivalent?) to pass perfectly normal legislation, then it's not OK. This is a way of saying that the constitution is irretrievably broken. The rest of the world doesn't have the time or resources to wait around until you feel like mending it.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:17 AM
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The baby was a night owl in the womb, and this has continued post-birth.

The written constitution is fucked up, but layered on top of that is a kind of unwritten constitution. It's the unwritten constitution that needs to be circumvented. The Senate has a bunch of rules that make it hard to pass legislation. But in the end, the Senate created those rules, and if it decided to ignore them on a majority basis, it's not clear who could stop them. The Senate has an official, the Parliamentarian, who interprets the rules. The Parliamentarian is chosen by the majority. The Parliamentarian could rule that a filibuster violates Senate rules, and there's nothing that the minority could do, other than try their luck in court.

I thought that American right-wing bitching about NATO was insane. European countries had, shall we say, independent foreign policies before WWII. The effect of the US underwriting NATO was to end that. Why would the American right want European countries to revert to having independent foreign policies? On a purely nationalistic basis, NATO was a small price to pay for eliminating rival sources of international power. But the right-wing world-view is now so distorted that I find it almost unintelligible.

I think the role of the dollar as a reserve currency is basically bad for the average American, so good riddance to that. I don't think it would have a big negative impact. The collapse of NATO I'm less sure about. But if public and vocal anti-Americanism became the foreign policy of European powers, this would only empower the Palinite faction.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:53 AM
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But if public and vocal anti-Americanism became the foreign policy of European powers, this would only empower the Palinite faction.

It wouldn't necessarily have to come to that. All it would need is for the European powers to start treating the US like they would anyone else, and taking a much more realistic view of their interaction. That doesn't have to necessarily involve any vocal posturing at all.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:58 AM
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The Senate has an official, the Parliamentarian, who interprets the rules.

Who is this, who appoints them, and what is their legal status. I love the title, mind.

But if public and vocal anti-Americanism became the foreign policy of European powers, this would only empower the Palinite faction.

Granted, but I don't think anybody's suggesting Angela Merkel leading a march through the streets shouting "Yanks go home!" What's required (not just in Europe) is a pragmatic approach which would in fact be anti-American only in that it would impact negatively on the amour propre of the Washington elite.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:00 AM
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I have heard quite a number of really good sermons in my life, because this guy is originally from my home parish and he usually says a few Masses in the church whenever he visits home. He has also been doing Midnight Mass in the parish for the last 61 years.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:01 AM
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In particular, suppose the EU started acting more like Japan or India, that is, not anti-American, but a-American.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:01 AM
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171. Just so.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:10 AM
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re: 171

Exactly.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:12 AM
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Could the EU collectively arrange a shift like that without public anti-American rhetoric? I think maybe it would require Merkel to lead "Yanks Go Home" marches. Most of the specific policies you have in mind are invisible enough to voting public that it wouldn't have a large impact, unless something like 9/11 happened again. But I would think coordination in the EU is difficult enough that doing it quietly would be hard.

The Parliamentarian is appointed by the majority, though I don't know if it happens by the Senate Majority Leader alone, or by a majority vote.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:18 AM
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The details are here. Apparently, you don't actually have to replace the Parliamentarian. It's possible to simply overrule him by majority vote.

As a patriotic American, I find this discussion depressing. If the Palinite faction comes to power, it's hard to say what they would do, exactly. I doubt they know. But if they do, they have the potential to be a big threat to the international system, so I can't blame you for contingency planning.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:24 AM
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The problem is that the US is the AIG of the international system - it's dodgy as anything but "too big to fail". Now there are four ways to deal with a bank that's a systemic risk. You can reduce the size of the bank, or you can reduce its interconnectedness with the rest of the system, or you can regulate it to make it less risky, or you can build up your own reserves and safeguards so that when it falls, it doesn't take you with it.
Obviously the first is out of the question. We can, maybe, mandate the breakup of Citigroup; we can't mandate the breakup of the Union. The third is also impossible. So what jamie is talking about is the second option, with a bit of the fourth.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:32 AM
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Could the EU collectively arrange a shift like that without public anti-American rhetoric?

Hard to say - they've never felt the need to up to now. The ECB is largely autonomous, and if its leadership wanted to go down that road they might well drag the politicians with them. In terms of the member states, it would be comparatively easy to shift perception in this direction in France and Spain, bloody hard in Italy and Britain, tricky in Germany - would at least require a change of government, and I haven't a clue about the smaller countries.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:32 AM
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That said, never underestimate the impact on European politics that President Palin would have. If she really behaved like she does now, Merkel wouldn't need to lead the marches, she could simply allow herself to cave in to popular pressure.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:34 AM
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178 is true. The anti-American rhetoric would, in this case, be supplied by President Palin and her acolytes. Look what happened with Bush, for heaven's sake.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:42 AM
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I have a marvelous proof that Sarah Palin cannot become President of the United States, but it's too small to fit in this comment box.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:42 AM
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Palin herself is not likely to become president. But a generic Republican president is likely to pursue the same policies.

Apparently, various poli sci vote estimates based on Brown's previous experience in office suggest he would be to the left of Snowe. For some reason, I think that's unlikely to play out that way in the future.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:53 AM
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I didn't mean to be ragging on Paul last night. It's not his fault people are dicks. As an annoyingly earnest little Baptist girl, I used to quote him quite often, particularly "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" and "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." I actually thought that Christianity was a religion founded on opposition to racism, sexism, and fear mongering! Isn't that cute?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 5:09 AM
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Palin is not far enough removed from quitting halfway through her gubernatorial term to get elected president, and still won't be in two years. The ads write themselves.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 5:12 AM
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I actually thought that Christianity was a religion founded on opposition to racism, sexism, and fear mongering!

I know Christians like that. I know the other sort too. This is why, as an atheist, I can't love the Dawkins/Myers mindset. Like you say, it's not Paul's fault if people are dicks.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 5:18 AM
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Palin is not far enough removed from quitting halfway through her gubernatorial term to get elected president

Then let the word "Palin" stand as a placeholder for all the economically illiterate and politically violent chancers in the Republican Party who will slug it out for the nomination in 2012. It has the advantage of being short and easy to type.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 5:21 AM
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all the economically illiterate and politically violent chancers in the Republican Party

Not much field-narrowing there.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 5:22 AM
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It has the advantage of being short and easy to type.

Not quite as short as a nice pithy four-letter word I can think of ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 5:34 AM
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If there's any chance of getting the word "palin" (n. a self-advertising blowhard who quits under the slightest pressure: "Our new CEO turned out to be a real palin after all his noise when the third quarter figures were announced") into wide enough circulation to get some notice, then I think it should be done anyway. As a ranging shot.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 5:44 AM
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148: The "plurality" is due as much to the choices of the Council of Nicaea as to any crafty, sex-negative nefariousness on the part of the hijacker Paul.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:37 AM
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189: I always figured it was the result of Paul being Greek-speaking and just generally more inclined, as a result of greater assimilation into the classical world, to put stuff on paper.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:46 AM
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I think 183 is a dangerous underestimation of what a nation of pathetic losers is capable of, with the right amount of pain and demoralization.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:48 AM
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Further to 191.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:13 AM
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On how the NT books were selected: this is a bit hazy, being 18 years removed from the class in which I learned it, but, basically, around 300 AD, there were still a ton of Christian writings floating around, including the Gnostic stuff, the basically fantastical stuff (Paul and Thecla, NT fanfic if you will), plausibly canonical stuff, and the stuff that ended up in the canon. Eusebius and others decided it was time to get seriously exclusionary, and their timing worked out with Constantine to settle the issue. But the process had begun much earlier - Irenaeus had a version of the NT that still looks familiar in 180, and (per wiki) some guy in 140 thought that the NT should be nothing but Luke and Paul.

But yeah, the Councils were incidental, and Paul was considered important very early. In case anyone doesn't realize, all of the Gospels were quite late - they were written by and for the generation that was 2 degrees from Jesus (ie, no one remained who had been at all contemporary with JC; some of the writers had known the disciples, but not nec.).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:26 AM
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193: Good points. I wonder whether Paul's proximity to the Big J qualified him to the canonizers as much as it would to us, or whether they promoted Paul for other, Gentile-converting reasons.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:45 AM
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194: Weren't the canonizers mostly gentile converts?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:49 AM
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I have never seen an eagle grasp a mouse. Surely I'm not alone!

The pastor at the church for Wacky Black Lesbian Evangelical Lefties preached a whole sermon based on "quick" meaning "speedy" rather than "alive" but I didn't say anything to her about it at the time since I was new there and also an atheist. Since then, I've decided that if other people can shout AMEN and the like, I can say in a calm but audible voice something like That is not historically accurate! or That is not a reasonable translation/interpretation. Presumably no one pays attention except my partner, but I feel better.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:58 AM
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195: Oh yeah, the Petrine Christians were scattered by the Roman conquest of 70. There were still plenty of Christians in the Middle East, inc. Palestine, but they weren't Jews for Jesus the way that Peter and James were.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:02 AM
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That is not historically accurate! or That is not a reasonable translation/interpretation.

My mother would visibly tense in the pew when poor grammar was ascribed to Jesus: "He would never say, 'the reason why'!"


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:03 AM
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196: If the pastor ever says that you should buy a Honda because the disciples were "in an Accord" run.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:03 AM
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Not that Honda doesn't make a perfectly fine car.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:08 AM
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He would never say, 'the reason why'!

Are you suggesting that Cecil Woodham-Smith was ungrammatical or apostate?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:08 AM
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201: Or twenty thousand Cornishmen?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:10 AM
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Seriously, probably JRoth, does anybody actually know, as opposed to making good guesses at, what "Petrine christianity" was? I'd love a steer on this.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:14 AM
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OFE, Petrine = in Peter's original church, so the actual dudes on the ground hashing out what it means to be Christian just post-Christ. If you're asking what they actually did and believed, beats me.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:21 AM
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204. Yes, I understand who they were; I just wasn't aware that anybody had a clue what they believed in/thought/did. JRoth seemed to imply that this was known at some level.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:03 AM
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203, 204: What is known is in the Acts of the Apostles. Communal living using shared resources. And trying to hide resources from Peter resulted in at least two deaths.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:05 AM
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206: Just to be clear, St. Peter didn't kill them. It was divine punishment.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:06 AM
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I shall have to read Acts again. But I can see why this never went large.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:08 AM
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206: I believe they were also then eaten by worms, at least when we acted it out in seventh grade. Or was that just Herod?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:08 AM
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196: I have never seen an eagle grasp a mouse. Surely I'm not alone!

No one has ever seen an eagle grasp a mouse. Eagles don't eat mice. They tend to go for bigger prey - rabbits, newborn lambs, medium-sized game birds, and carrion.

Owls eat mice.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:13 AM
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209: That was just Herod.

As for the difference between Peter and Paul, I'm not convinced it was that a great deal historically. Acts has quite a bit about Paul (including the conversion) and Paul directly addresses Luke (to whom Acts is ascribed). Also, Acts has much of the gentile-stuff coming straight from Peter, including clear directives about not having to eat kosher. And Paul is fund raising for the Christians in Palestine.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:17 AM
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The pastor at the church for Wacky Black Lesbian Evangelical Lefties preached a whole sermon based on "quick" meaning "speedy" rather than "alive" but I didn't say anything to her about it at the time since I was new there and also an atheist.

The pastor at Judson Memorial preached a whole sermon a couple of years ago on (i) Easter and (ii) the anniversary of the death of Dietrich Bonhoeffer without mentioning either or the Big J by name, but I didn't say anything to her about it: being hectored by hippies is to me probably a little like hearing the Big J would have been to a young, bourgeois Roman visiting Jerusalem around A.D. 33 (i.e., intensely annoying). Sort of like Pasolini choosing an actor with a grating voice to play Jesus in his Passion movie.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:41 AM
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Hard to beat Edward Gibbon on this general topic (early Christianity, not football):

"But how shall we excuse the supine inattention of the Pagan and philosophic world, to those evidences which were represented by the hand of Omnipotence, not to their reason, but to their senses? During the age of Christ, of his apostles, and of their first disciples, the doctrine which they preached was confirmed by innumerable prodigies. The lame walked, the blind saw, the sick were healed, the dead were raised, daemons were expelled, and the laws of Nature were frequently suspended for the benefit of the church. But the sages of Greece and Rome turned aside from the awful spectacle, and, pursuing the ordinary occupations of life and study, appeared unconscious of any alterations in the moral or physical government of the world. Under the reign of Tiberius, the whole earth, or at least a celebrated province of the Roman empire, was involved in a preternatural darkness of three hours. Even this miraculous event, which ought to have excited the wonder, the curiosity, and the devotion of mankind, passed without notice in an age of science and history. It happened during the lifetime of Seneca and the elder Pliny, who must have experienced the immediate effects, or received the earliest intelligence, of the prodigy. Each of these philosophers, in a laborious work, has recorded all the great phenomena of Nature, earthquakes, meteors comets, and eclipses, which his indefatigable curiosity could collect. Both the one and the other have omitted to mention the greatest phenomenon to which the mortal eye has been witness since the creation of the globe. A distinct chapter of Pliny is designed for eclipses of an extraordinary nature and unusual duration; but he contents himself with describing the singular defect of light which followed the murder of Caesar, when, during the greatest part of a year, the orb of the sun appeared pale and without splendor. The season of obscurity, which cannot surely be compared with the preternatural darkness of the Passion, had been already celebrated by most of the poets and historians of that memorable age."


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:47 AM
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My impression has always been that Petrine Christianity trended less evangelistic and more recognizably Jewish - if not kosher, at least viewing Christ more in terms of traditional Jewish messianic expectations. Pauline Christianity certainly makes plenty of reference to OT passages, but there's not much in it that's a recognizable extension of traditional Jewish beliefs.

Probably most important was the Platonic stuff that became incorporated - I don't know how much is truly Pauline and how much is glossed onto Paul, but a lot of the body/spirit dichotomy stuff has a lot more to do with Greek philosophy than with anything Jesus is likely to have said/believed (recall that Jesus' resurrection was explicitly physical, with holes in his hands and fish being eaten; there was no notion that the body was this corrupt vessel to be utterly abandoned - perfected, but not left behind).

I suspect - but don't know - that there's a non-canonical text or two that would provide some insight, if not a definitive answer.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:00 AM
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I wonder whether Paul's proximity to the Big J

To be clear, Paul's only proximity was temporal. There's no evidence that he and J. von N. ever met. For one, Paul doesn't mention any such meeting in his letters, though it would have very much suited his rhetorical purpose.

Also, Acts' depiction of Paul isn't entirely consistent with what we know from Paul's own hand -- why should it be, when it was written 50ish years later? -- so it isn't much to go by as a history.

Pretty much all we know is
1. There was probably a guy named Yeshua.
2. He was probably crucified by Pilate as a troublemaker nobody.
3. Some of his friends experienced his resurrection, whatever that means.
4. Paul wrote some letters, of which some remain to us lumped together with letters written "in the Pauline tradition" (to put it charitably).


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:00 AM
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being hectored by hippies is to me probably a little like hearing the Big J would have been to a young, bourgeois Roman visiting Jerusalem around A.D. 33 (i.e., intensely annoying).

I don't know if you're familiar with Lindsey Davis' Falco novels about a Roman chancer who does dodgy undercover stuff for Vespasian (you should be). But there's one where the protagonist finds himself travelling through Judaea with a peripatetic Greek theatre company (specialising in New Comedy - neither new nor funny), when they get accosted by a bunch of Christians who behave exactly like their leaflet happy descendants. Paraphrase: "We told them to get lost, but they wouldn't shut up so we beat them up a bit and went on our way".


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:02 AM
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It would be difficult to get the Poles on board with an anti-American EU unless the EU also chose to seriously downgrade its relations with Russia or the Americans first went significantly more batshit insane than under Bush. From the Polish perspective the Americans provide a nice distant but powerful counterweight to nearby threats. Primarily Russia, but for a decent number Germany as well. Related, a problem for the idea of Cheney getting arrested in the EU is that it increases the likelihood of a Polish or Baltic judge putting out warrants for senior Russian officials.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:03 AM
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From a distance of 2000 years, it's easy (for me) to think of the Christian origins story having unfolded, and always-already re-unfolding, in mythical time. Which is fine, until you realize that one of Christianity's distinguishing features is its celebration of God's concrete intervention into mundane history, with dates and places and artefacts and Caesars and everything. It's kind of weird.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:08 AM
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Has anyone watched the whole "The God Who Wasn't There" movie? I'm intrigued, but can't imagine actually shelling out for it. I'm sure there's flaws in some of the historiography, but from what I know, I suspect it holds together OK.

BTW, The Slacktivist has up a pitch-perfect rant about Big Gov't interfering with baby strollers.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:21 AM
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...recall that Jesus' resurrection was explicitly physical, with holes in his hands and fish being eaten; there was no notion that the body was this corrupt vessel to be utterly abandoned - perfected, but not left behind....

I'm not the person to respond to this in informed detail, but I believe that the Resurrection, as received dogma of A.D. 2010 and reported in, say, John, is the subject of some textual and even theological dispute based on the language of the Gospels and the Epistles (e.g., the "rising"/"waking" interpretation).

215: Temporal proximity, yes, but to the early canonists the combination of temporal proximity and explicitness about the sort of thing that is still very important ("if Christ had not risen then our faith is in vain") might have been both sincerely persuasive and attractive as potentially more persuasive to others than an additional gospel or two that somebody, even back then, could have pointed out seemed rather different in the details from Mark or whatnot.

216: Love 'em. I think there's an eccentric Roman noblewoman in one of the later books who happens to be a Christian, but don't hold me to that.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:43 AM
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220.1: Oh, no doubt. And, indeed, my comment treats the gospels as more "true," which isn't especially (or at all) justified. My point is that there's considerable evidence that some early Christians viewed Christ's resurrection as a very physical, corporeal thing, and that this is inconsistent with the Platonic* notions present in/derived from Paul, in which it's all about the soul, and the body is just a corrupt vessel.

* apologies to philosophers for use of this shorthand, btw. I know Plato didn't invent the idea of a body/soul dichotomy


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:02 PM
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221: The Resurrection ain't called a stumbling block for no reason. I heard a lecture once by an N.T. scholar who called the dogma of the bodily resurrection a "pons asinorum."*

* Cough no wonder the mainline denominations are shrinking cough.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:13 PM
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218 is nicely put.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:18 PM
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I don't know what I'm talking about at all here, but I'd been given to understand that the Platonism of the early medieval church was imported from the Neoplatonists via Augustine. What is specifically Platonic in Paul, or anywhere in the NT? (A serious question. I did most of my Bible reading before I learned that ideas have histories.)


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:24 PM
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Thanks, Bave.

One of my favorite parts of 1 Corinthians comes right at the beginning, where Paul is beside himself that people have been lining up into Teams Paul/Apollos/Peter in his absence. Essentially, he writes, You retards! I'm glad I wasn't the one who baptized the lot of you. Uh, except for Flavius and Wilhelmina. And some others that I forgot. But definitely nobody else. Definitely.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:39 PM
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224: OK, now this is really hazy. But essentially the entire notion that we have this perfect/perfectable soul that's trapped in this inevitably sinful body comes from Greece, not from Palestine - there's very little in the Judaic tradition that follows those lines, but it's all over the N.T.

Now, mysticism (and with it body/soul dichotomy) was in Judaea before Christ, but the vein that's in Christianity is distinctly Greek. I wish I could cite chapter and verse, but I can't. It's useful to look at the Gnostic texts alongside the canonical ones and see the spectrum of approaches - some of the Gnostic stuff is very Greek Mystery, some of it is very Middle Eastern, and some of it is pretty Hebraic. And the canonical stuff comes from this pretty rationalist strain of Greek thought. In truth it's more interwoven and subtle than that, but my point is that it's easier to see what I'm getting at when you place the canonical texts alongside their contemporary non-canonical peers. It's not that the non-canonical stuff was all magic tricks (baby Jesus fixing a smashed pot), but that they had a completely different universe from the one that's in the NT.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:43 PM
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Baby Jesus needs a fix and gets smashed on pot.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:50 PM
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...baby Jesus fixing a smashed pot....

"Look, I like the Handy Jesus best, and I'm saying grace. When you say grace, you can say it to Platonic Jesus, or Gnostic Jesus, or Socialist Revolutionary Jesus, or whatever you want."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:51 PM
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At grace, I pray to Kinky Jesus:

Epiphanius mentions one of these [books], Greater Questions of Mary, which contained a narrative in which Jesus took Mary to a mountain, produced a woman from his side, and began to have sexual relations with her. When the semen was produced, he partook of it and said, "We must act thus so that we might live".


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:14 PM
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"We must act thus so that we might live".

Makes giving all your stuff to charity seem a lot more plausible, doesn't it?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:47 PM
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229 is great, even better than Secret Mark.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:54 PM
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