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The August 2014 Biblical Studies Carnival

…is now posted for your reading pleasure at Rob Bradshaw’s Biblical Studies Blog.

Something You Can Do for Liberia’s Ebola Crisis

Care for One Hundred is a response to the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, especially Liberia. On August 13, 2014, the World Health Organization identified Liberia as the new epicenter of the crisis. That means that Liberia is the nation where the most new cases of Ebola are showing up.

Given the depressed Liberian economy, most Liberians subsist on one meal a day. We have calculated that for less than $0.35 a day we can provide one good meal of rice and beans. Provisions also will include oil and seasoning. For $1,000 USD we can Care for One Hundred for one month.

Nailed It

Scot McKnight:

Inerrancy is a disruptive child in the theological classroom. He or she gets all the attention of teacher and students. A biblical view of inerrancy demotes it under the word true, all as part of God’s choice to communicate efficiently and sufficiently. When the word “true” governs the game it’s a brand new, healthy game. Good teachers know how to handle disruptive children.

I am increasingly gratified not to run in circles where “inerrancy” is a thing. It does me proud to know that, if I put the word on a quiz, at least some of my (church-going, traditional) Mercer students won’t know what it means. Frankly, I’m tired of the fight to define inerrancy—which has little or anything to do with the struggle to follow Christ into all the truth God has revealed to us in Holy Scripture.

If you’re not entirely bored with the subject (yet), you might like reading “Why I Am Not an Inerrantist—Even though I Am (or Vice Versa).”

Pete Enns Is a Genius

He may or may not be an evil genius (I’ve never met him). He is a genius at helping you see things from a different point of view:

In a recent statement from his Creation Museum office, Ken Ham blasted God for “not taking the Bible seriously and undermining its authority.”

“Only someone with liberal leanings would write a Bible like this,” Ham exploded. “Placing next to each other in the Old Testament two blatantly contradictory histories of Israel [1 Samuel-2 Kingsand 1 and 2 Chronicles] is nothing less than an all-out attack on the integrity of God’s inerrant word.”

“Think about it. The transition of power from David to Solmon can’t be filled with political conspiracy and be smooth as silk, yet there we have it, clear as day.” [1 Kings 1-2; 1 Chronicles 23:1]

“We can harmonize some of this, but not all. And that’s a problem. Only a God willing to compromise on God’s word would write something like this.”

July 2014 Biblical Studies Carnival

The latest Biblical Studies Carnival is now posted at Linguae Antiquitatum.

Vivant linguae mortuae!

Of Cheshire Cats and Transubstantiation

Scientists have created an effect comparable to a subatomic Cheshire cat. Rather than a grin that has been separated from its cat, they have created a property of magnetic moment (I’ll not pretend I understand what that is) separated from its neutron. As Stephen Luntz explains,

In the classical world we are familiar with the idea that a property like magnetic moment cannot be separated from its object – it would be like taking the taste away from a chocolate bar so that the bar produced no sensation on the tongue, but a disembodied taste could be detected somewhere quite distinct.

However, things work differently in the world of the very small. In the 1990s, Professor Yakir Aharonov of Tel Aviv University proposed the properties could indeed be detached from particles (his book explaining it is delightfully subtitled Quantum Theory for the Perplexed). The idea develops on Schrödinger’s famous feline thought-experiment. However, instead of ending up with a live and dead cat, you have a cat without its properties, and properties without the cat. The naming after Carroll’s Cheshire moggy was inevitable.

Thus,

Denkmayr and his co-authors…temporarily removed the magnetic moment from the neutrons using an interferometer. They used a silicon crystal to split a neutron beam and reported, “The experimental results suggest that the system behaves as if the neutrons go through one beam path, while their magnetic moment travels along the other.” The beams were then reunited, leaving no disembodied magnetic moments prowling the universe.

It seems to me some enterprising Catholic theologian might jump on this as a way to realign the doctrine of transubstantiation with modern theories of physics (just as the original doctrine aligned with Platonic thought). To use the classical terminology, what might it mean to say that a set of “accidents” (properties) can be separated from its “substance” (objects)?

Glowing with the Ardor of the Holy Spirit

There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:28)

When one has once put on Christ and, having been sent into the flame, glows with the ardor of the Holy Spirit, it is not apparent whether he is of gold or silver. As long as the heat takes over the mass in this way there is one fiery color, and all diversity of race, condition and body is taken away by such a garment.
—Jerome, Epistle to the Galatians 2.3.27-28

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