Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The London Roman Brothel Token

Here is an image of the brothel token found in London on the shore of the Thames earlier this month. An amateur archaeologist with a metal detector freed it from its muddy home of about 2,000 years. The numeral XIIII on the back side seems to indicate that the token was worth 14 small Roman coins called asses, the equivalent of seven loaves of bread. The token could have been turned in for the service depicted on the front side of the coin at one of the many London brothels.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

BibleReader for Windows 7

Being quite happy happy with OliveTree's Bible app on my iPhone, I recently downloaded the new BibleReader for Windows 7, available for free download at the Olive Tree Software Website. To access, click here. In the screenshot above (click image to greatly enlarge), you can see displayed the Hebrew text, a sample pop-up analysis of a Hebrew word, and the corresponding Jewish Study Bible notes on the right.

All of the biblical versions and resources that I've purchased for use on the iPhone downloaded easily for use on my laptop. The new program and the all the resources combined appear to take up less than 1 GB on my laptop's flashdrive. Although the software appears perfectly adequate for displaying the resources and the rather amazing hyper-smart Resource Guide appears fully functional, I've noticed a few features that are still works in progress on the PC version. Designating certain Bible versions and resources as "Favorites" does not seem yet to stick from one session to another. Although searches on English-text versions seem to work fine, trying original language searches seems to cause the program to freeze up.

Friday, January 20, 2012

3D Panoramas of the Two Monuments

As a supplement to yesterday's post on the DC Memorial Monuments, here are two 3D Panoramas that I made. The first is of the World War II Monument and the second is of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sacrifice and Public Life

In our Interdisciplinary Seminar on Sacrifice today we explored notions of sacrifice in common life in the United States, with one hour spent looking at some of the war memorials on the DC National Mall. Below is my daughter Rebecca at the World War II Memorial and at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.



For more of the photos collected by the class, click here (large file: 2 MB pdf).

The WWII Memorial is very much a triumphal monument to sacrifice. For example, there are huge wreaths of victory at the tops of the north and south pavilions. The monument teaches the conflict as the “good war” that was fought by the “greatest generation.” There are touches that attempt to add personal elements and a consciousness of war’s tragic dimensions, but these are muted and often unclear if not specifically pointed out. For example, there are open rectangular slots and no formal tops in the pillars named with states, alluding to death and the grave, but I never caught the allusion on my visit.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial has a very different feel. To visit it is a much more subjective experience. It has little to “teach” objectively, but encourages a subjective interpretation and a journey of grappling with the meaning of war and the meaning of the huge sacrifices made by those who died. One makes a therapeutic journey down below ground-level, increasingly surrounded by the thousands of names of those who gave their lives. One sees one’s own reflection in the walls as one brings one’s own thoughts and questions to the memorial. Then one emerges back to ground level, often with some feeling of healing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

MAR-SBL Registration Now Live

MAR-SBL registration is now live! To go ahead and get registered for the meetings, March 15-16, 2012, Hyatt Regency, New Brunswick, New Jersey, click here.

Monday, January 16, 2012

New NET Bible Study Environment



The free, on-line NET Study Bible is worth checking out, especially for those working primarily with the English text but desiring plenty of notes illuminating the original Hebrew and Greek texts. To access the new study environment, click here.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

January-Term Seminar: Religious Sacrifice

Along with my faculty colleague Tim Sedgwick, I am teaching an intensive 2-week seminar at the moment (RCL 820) on "Sacrifice: History, Meaning, and Christian Faith." One of our faculty guest-presenters, A. Katherine Grieb, shared this painting at the start of her 3-hour discussion. It is Francisco de Zurbarán, "Agnus Dei (The Lamb of God)," 1635-1640. The image depicts Christ symbolically as the ultimate sacrifice, the lamb of God who sacrificed himself to take away the sins of the world and save humanity. The museum that has acquired it, the Museo Nacional del Prado, summarizes the painting as follows: "The straightforward composition consists exclusively of an image of the young animal with its legs bound, lying on a windowsill [or, is it an altar?] and brightly lit by a single light source." It's beauty, to me, lies in its simplicity, realism, and emotional power. There is a breathtaking naturalism to the image--is the wool really painted, or is it real?! The calm silence and meekness of the animal are striking, and its facial expression, which seems almost human, exudes an inner peace and tranquility in the face of death. The painting fits a 17th-century Spanish contemplative emphasis on finding God in all things, including seemingly insignificant created life-forms. An art-form known as the "divine still-life" developed, which celebrated the simple joy of God's creation and the power of the spiritual message discoverable there. Your comments and interpretations are welcome! For a nice, brief audio-guide to the painting, click here and scroll down (download the mp3--give it time to load).

Monday, January 09, 2012

My Homily Today on Isa 61:1-3



I delivered a brief reflection today on Isaiah 61:1-3, one of the readings chosen for the day in the Episcopal Calendar commemorating Julia Chester Emery (d. 9 Jan 1922). To download the mp3 file, right click here.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Art Project for Epiphany 1

“The Spirit descending like a dove on him” (from Mark 1:4-11)


Friday, January 06, 2012

Three Kings Day 2012



HT: Susan Shillinglaw

Thursday, January 05, 2012


Received a nice email from an alum, the Very Rev. Philip M. Dinwiddie, who is developing a website he calls GodSnap.com. It contains all manner of links and resources of interest for members of the wider church. To check it out, click on the screen shot below:

Monday, January 02, 2012

Happy New Year 2012

Neat photo find: