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Odyssey and the Bible Part II

The first complete copy of the Odyssey is from the 10th or 11th centuries.  According to the University of Chicago library web site "About 300 medieval manuscripts of the Iliad or the Odyssey survive dating from the ninth to the fifteenth century. . .  Differences in the ancient versions copied by medieval scribes, combined with their own transcription errors and editorial decisions, make it very difficult to sort out relationships among the manuscript texts."
Two take aways:
1.  There is at least 1650 years between when Homer wrote and when we have a complete manuscript.
2.  There are numerous differences between the various versions.

(to be continued)

Odyssey and the Bible Part I

When did Homer live?  Herodotus, the world's first historian, thought he lived around 850 B.C., although some place him as early as 1200 B.C., and some as late as 750 B.C.  (see  He wrote two great epic poems, the lliad and the Odyssey.  At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, at the exhibition of Pergamum, they had a papyrus scrap from the Odyssey.  The text was from 285-250 B.C..  The placard at the exhibit said "Since these works originally circulated orally and were only progressively written down in various places, they existed in numerous versions."
    The two take aways are
1.  There are at least 500 years between when the Odyssey was written (no later than 750 B.C. possibly earlier) and the first papyrus (which is only a scrap)(250 B.C).
2.  There are many versions of the Odyssey.

to be continued

Lord Willing - Offerings and Budget

      At our congregational meeting today, the council proposed to the congregation a budget.  The budget was based on the expected offering for this upcoming year, and we used a little bit less than we received last year, which was thousands more than we expected to receive when we made up last year's budget, because so many gave so much more.
       But we humbly acknowledge that this budget is very much a "If the Lord wills" budget.  Just because we received it last year, is not a guarantee that we will receive the same amount this year.  It is really a matter of faith - and trust.  Giving to this church is a voluntary act.  It is not a tax, but a gift.  It is not a payment, but an offering.

Lord, thank you for blessing us so well financially last year.  May we spend your money wisely this year.

Lord Willing - Sickness

I try to write a blog every other day, so there should have been one on Friday.  But Thursday night I became very sick.  I was so sick that I could not go to work and stayed in bed most of Friday.  I had had plans to work and get a project out of the door, but I was so sick I could not even get to work.  I had had plans to work and prepare for our church council retreat, but I slept the day away.   I had had plans to prepare a test.  But the test was unfinished. 
    We need to say as Jesus's brother James did "Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

   Lord, thank you for reminding me that you are in charge of my life.  I am your servant.

Oxymoron - Damn Fun Show

An oxymoron is a combination of two Greek words - oxy (sharp, keen) and moron (foolish, stupid).  Just yesterday I got an advertisement for a militaria show - "this is one damn fun show."  Damn means "May God curse you (or that person) to hell."  How God cursing some one to hell can be fun is beyond me.

Lord, helps us to use the right language.  Helps us to use language to lift others up, and not tear them down.

Oxymoron - wicked good

   We love New England and in my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful places on the earth.  But the Yankees have an interesting expression (oxymoron) - "wicked good."  Thus in a town near by where by grandmother was born there is "Wicked Good BBQ" (East Thetford) and in a the town just north (Fairlee) has a "Wicked Good Ice Cream."
    How can something evil, wicked be good?  That makes as much sense as "cool as hell."

Oxymoron - cool as hell

A scientist (a distant relative to Pres. Obama) just named a new parasite for Mr. Obama.  Mr Platt said the creature reminds him of the president because: "It's long. It's thin. And it's cool as hell."
   Cool as hell???  Except for Dante's Inferno, most of the time hell is described as hot.  For example, in Revelation 21:8 we read "they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur."  Matthew 13:50 talks about a "blazing furnace" and Mark 9:43 describes hell as where the fire never goes out.  Finally, the half-brother of Jesus describes hell as a having eternal fire. 

Lord, we thank you for providing to the believers an alternative to the eternal fires of hell.

Giant Hoax

In my class today, a student showed me a picture of a giant found in Greece and that it was proof that the story of Goliath was true.  Unfortunately, this is a hoax.
    I plead with my readers to tell the truth.  I have roundly criticized evolutionists for faking the evidence.  But Christians circulate these untruths, even though this is a twelve year old hoax.  Come-on Christians.  We can do better than this.

Lord, help us tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  So help me God.

How much is a human life worth? Part IV

How much is a life worth?  In South Carolina, Carla Denise Garrison's daughter picked up a hypodermic needle in a parking lot at Target.  She swatted it out of her daughter's hand and poked herself.  She was given some medicine to combat HIV and became bedridden.  She then sued the company, and the jury agreed that Target should pay $4,618,500!!  Yes, four million dollars for something in their parking lot over which they have no control.
      Meanwhile in Chicago life is cheap with 512 murders so far this year.

Lord, we pray for justice in our land.

Baal Worship - Part II

    Today we have many Christian names - girls are called Faith, Grace (or Hannah which is Hebrew for grace) , Hope, Abigail, Mary, Lydia, etc.  and boys are called Christian, David, John, Timothy, Samuel, etc.  In the ancient times, followers of Ba'al were named after their god.  For example, Hannibal (Hanni ba'al) means "Hannibal (Hannah) (grace) of bal (Ba'al).
    And then there is evil king Ahab's wife, Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal, the king of Sidon.  According to I Kings 16:31 after the marriage Ahab "began to serve Baal and worship him.  He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria.  Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel , to anger than did all the kings of Israel before him."  Even King Saul named one of his children after Ba'al, Esh-Baal.  (I Chronicles 8:33 and 9:39)

Lord, may we choose whom we serve wisely.

Baal Worship

When I teach my Western Civilization course, I teach Rome vs. Carthage.  As a child growing up, I always rooted for Hannibal Barca, the brilliant general that crossed the Alps with the elephants. 
      My father said to me that it was better that the Romans won because the Baal worship was so evil.  Now that I am grown up I have studied the Baal religion and it was a very evil religion.  One of the gods the Carthaginians worshipped is Molech, a god that demanded human sacrifice.  At Carthage they have found a cemetery that contained thousands of babies

Praise the Lord that no one practices Baal worship today.  Long live the resurrected Christ.

Alcohol Abuse

     Our local university in Norfolk just received a $465,000 Federal grant to study alcoholism among lesbian and bisexual couples.  This is in addition to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism grant of $446,056 that was provided in 2012.  One-hundred and fifty couples are going to write their feelings down in a diary for a 14-day period.
     Some thoughts:
1.  Given the uniformly pro-lesbian drum-beat in the media and the entertainment industry, why are they still drinking so much?  Some theorize that it was because they were being discriminated against, but Christians are now being sued, and lesbians are consistently winning court cases against them.
2.  Could it be because of their life-choices that are causing them to drink?  In other words, although the media and the entertainment industry praises them, are they in fact unhappy because they know it is wrong. unnatural?

Lord, may we examine our lives and confess our sins and then ask forgiveness of our sins.

Hoax in Japan

Shinichi Fujimur, nicknamed "divine hands" for his uncanny ability to find pre-historic ruins, claimed that he had found human dug holes and stones from 600,000 years ago, perhaps the oldest human relics of the world. 

But then upon further investigation, it was revealed that he faked the evidence.  He modified the artifacts and then planted them in the ground and then dug them up that same day. (not a Christian website).

The truth shall set you free.

Brain Sizes Matter

“The belief that there exists between the size of man some close relation between the size of the brain and the development of the intellectual faculties is supported by the comparison of the skulls of savage and civilized races, of ancient and western people . . . by many careful measurements, the mean internal capacity of the skull in [white] Europeans is 92.3 inches; in Americans [American Indians] 87.5; in Asiatics 87.1; and in Australians [aborigines] only 81.9 cubic inches. . . Again, as respects the questions of absolute size, it is established that the difference between the largest and the smallest healthy human brain is greater than the difference between the smallest healthy human brain and the largest chimpanzee’s or orang’s brain.

So this author states that there is more difference between a white European and an aborigine then there is between an aborigine and a chimpanzee or an orangutan.

Which famous scientist wrote this precise, scientific work?

Charles Darwin in The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex.  A true racist.

Who were the Neanderthals?

   If you ask the common man on the street, they would tell you that the Neanderthals were not human - they were a stepping stone to the full human.
    But according to many studies, the Neanderthal's brain was in fact as big or even larger than humans! (which is not a Christian website)