Thursday, June 30, 2011

Free Yale Bible Course

The information in this course is mainstream, much like the information in The Blackwell Companion to the Hebrew Bible.  Not much of it really surprised me:  the Torah has multiple authors, Israel's history before the monarchic period is basically not known or non-existent, biblical theology is not monolithic, etc.

Mp3s of each lecture are available.  The professor is a secular (I think) Talmud scholar, so she's got some intellectual chops.

EDIT:  There are many more classes to choose from, including Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior, Introduction to New Testament History and Literature, and Capitalism: Success, Crisis, and Reform.  I'd like to listen to each of these.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Book Blog: The Blackwell Companion to the Hebrew Bible

Lately, I have been reading the Blackwell Companion to the Hebrew Bible.  I'm reading it because I want to know more about what is and what is not true about the God of the Bible.  I will probably read only 10 or 12 chapters in this book, because I'm not interested in everything in it.

Topics of the chapters I'm interested in are Early Israel, the Rise of the Monarchy, Monarchic Period, Exile and Restoration, Archaeology and Israelite History, Canaan, the Solomonic Temple, Schools and Literacy in Ancient Israel, Community, Old Testament Ethics, Narrative Texts, Wisdom Lit., and Apocalyptic Lit.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

An Argument for Sinai

Recently, I heard an argument given by Rabbi Gottlieb for the historicity of the biblical events of the book of Exodus, i.e. the Exodus from Egypt, the Revelation at Mt. Sinai, etc.  I listened to this argument because I have been trying to complete a goal that I have, namely to figure out if we can know anything about God other than that God exists (and created the known universe, perhaps).

Anyway, I have some thoughts on the argument.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Argument about the Resurrection

I have been involved in quite an interesting discussion about the resurrection of Jesus.    Check it out!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Updated God Goal

As noted previously, I want to find out if I can know anything else about God apart from His existence.  Although I am not completely convinced that there is a God, I am willing, for now, to grant that God exists so that I can tackle the aforementioned question.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My God Goal, Revisited

I've written about how it is an important goal of mine to know whether or not there is a God.  As I've been tackling this goal, I've had some significant thoughts about it.  They are the following:

An important idea to keep in mind during any significant undertaking is to focus on the type of tasks that will yield the most "return on investment," or ROI.  In the case of investigating God's existence, there are certain tasks and pieces of knowledge that could yield a higher ROI than others.  What, though, is a high ROI in the context of the question of whether or not God exists?  Well, knowing beyond reasonable doubt whether or not God exists!  That's about it... huh.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Does God Exist? The Kalam Cosmological Argument

The Kalam Cosmological Argument, or KCA, is an old argument for the existence God, i.e. the first cause of the universe.  I have some thoughts on it.

Here is the argument in syllogistic form:
  1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
  2. The universe began to exist.
  3. Therefore, the universe had a cause.
  4. That cause was God.
Points 1-3 formulate a valid deductive argument, which means that if premises 1 and 2 are true, then the conclusion, i.e. point 3, is necessarily true.  However, I'm not sure that this is a sound argument, which means that premises 1 and 2 are, in fact, true.

Point 4 may or may not logically follow from the preceding 3 points.  More on that below.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Documentary: The Bible Unearthed

This is an interesting video.  I wonder how much of it is true.

I've heard that Professor Finkelstein is somewhat of a "lightening rod" for controversy.  Some call him a biblical minimalist.  However, he denies that he is one.

I appreciated the ending of the documentary.  After painting a picture of early Israelite history that is vastly different than the one painted in the Torah, it ends on a hopeful note.  

By the way, I'd like to stay more updated on the current status of biblical archeology.  It would be nice to find some solid RSS feeds of quality, relevant information.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

On Goals, cont.

Lately, I've been attempting to write down my goals.

I need to break down the goals I wrote in the last post, preferably into doable tasks.