Here’s an interesting and humorous post by public speaker Scott Berkun entitled, “How to Detect Bullshit.” Several parts of it are quite applicable to the paleobabbling that happens every day on the web (and in print and on radio).
Everyone here knows I am no fan of Sitchin, but good grief – this announcement could at least spell the man’s name correctly.
The first time was a few years after the scrolls were discovered when, contrary to nitwits like Baigent and Leigh (“The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception”), the scrolls began to be published. (For an account of the publishing history of the scrolls — other than simply looking at the copyright dates in the DJD series [Discoveries in the Judaean Desert], see VanderKam’s book for non-specialists, The Dead Sea Scrolls Today, pp. 187-193 of the first edition). So much for the conspiracy. Wow, that took a lot of research.
Anyway, the conspiracy died again, when the Qumran scrolls went digital. I had access to them in grad school.
Now, the scrolls are all going online. ! GASP ! WHAT ARE THEY THINKING !!! HOW DID THEY GET THIS PAST THE VATICAN?!? WHAT WILL THE ILLUMINATI DO NEXT!?! I’m on the edge of my seat.
Granted, it will take a while to put everything up online in high resolution, but before you think that’ll give the insiders a chance to obscure the damning truths in them that will overturn all that we think about the church (despite them being published since the fifties) you should realize that high resolution, scalable photographs of the scrolls have been available for years. I remember seeing the set made by BYU at least ten years ago, but I didn’t have a few thousand dollars (or that much interest) to purchase a set. Glad I waited.
What a bummer. I’m going to file this one under my “if only I were God for a day.” I’d use my phenomenal cosmic powers to have a mass public removal of all 2012 doomsday books from bookstores all over the world, complete with public renunciation of this idiocy.
Read about the 2012 boo-boo here.
This is a topic that many readers will be familiar with. It circulates widely on the web. In a nutshell, it’s the notion that the ten tribes of Israel (the northern kingdom of the divided monarchy in ancient Israelite history) that were deported and scattered by the Assyrians eventually migrated in some fashion to the British Isles. The British colonists who came to America are their descendants, and so Britain / America was / is the new Israel. In case some of you have not heard of this idea, here is a summary (see the Wikipedia entry as well).
Criticisms and debunkings of the idea have been around since its genesis. I’d like to direct your attention to a recent lengthy expose on the subject. I know the author (Greg Doudna). Greg is a published expert on the Dead Sea scrolls. His religious background was in circles that promote the lost ten tribes mythology. Hence his interest and this book (the book’s title is awful, leaving the reader no clue as to the subject matter).
Most of what you’ll read on the internet about Nibiru comes from Zecharia Sitchin’s noggin and those of his cyber-acolytes. In other words, most of it’s nonsense. Here is an exception. I’ll have to admit some of it is over my head (I’m not an astronomer), but this strikes me as an earnest attempt to make sense of the Mesopotamian material on Nibiru (read: the real stuff, not what Sitchin invents in his books). It may be helpful for readers to have these other links handy:
I get questions now and again (on this blog or The Naked Bible) about ancient manuscripts of the New Testament and textual criticism. Personally, this is a favorite topic. I thought I’d post something about resources in that area (all of the titles below lead to digital versions — superior since they can be searched — but if you want to read the books in their entirety, you can find them on Amazon):
(All the titles below are available here)
Encountering New Testament Manuscripts by Jack Finegan (good intro)
Manuscripts and the Text of the New Testament by Keith Elliot and Ian Moir
New Testament Textual Criticism: A Concise Guide by David Alan Black (good for beginners)
Studies in the Theory and Method of New Testament Textual Criticism Eldon J. Epp and Gordon D. Fee, editors
The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research Bart D. Ehrman and Michael W. Holmes, editors (more advanced)
A Student’s Guide to Textual Criticism of the Bible (covers both testaments, but very readable work for beginners)
Another interesting and relevant post from Kate Phizackerley over at the Valley of the Kings blog.
Kate added a follow-up comment about the video at the above link:
If you are finding the video hard, Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scota) is a bit dry but gives the bare bones. If you’d like to know more than that then the Kingdom of the Ark by Lorraine Evans is an accessible book. I don’t agree with all of her conclusions but she looks at things like the Ferriby Boats when discussing the feasibility of sea travel from Egypt to Ireland which is interesting reading of itself. I picked up my copy on Amazon for a penny plus P&P.