Comedy in the Nativity: The meaning of Christmas has lost its impact

Scholarship teaches doubt. It teaches us how to raise good questions, offers us the tools to answer those questions, and trains our minds to critique and re-examine the answers in search of further good questions. With scholarship as both the core and content of Westar’s foundation, it’s hard to approach the birth of the “Christ [...]

Shattering the Sabbath’s Peace

On Saturday morning the Sabbath peace (Shabbat Shalom) was shattered in the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh. The first reports were gruesome: at least 11 people were dead, several police officers wounded. A morning celebration of a bris with 60 to 100 people was devastated by gunfire. Some hours [...]

The Trouble with Faith

Faith is a problematic word, so problematic that at times I think we should abandon its use. It’s a weasel word, with so many and varied meanings that what it means often is difficult to know. Given the importance of faith in religious discourse, the varied meanings have significant implications and ramifications.

Baptism

Translating Baptism

At the recent meeting of the Christianity Seminar during the annual meeting of the AAR/SBL, baptism and eucharist were taken up. In a series of blogs, I will be reporting on various aspects of those discussions that may be of interest the followers of the Westar Blog. I am not trying to summarize the papers, [...]

Of Dates and Times

When Charles Darwin's theory of evolution first gained popularity, one criticism was that the natural process he described took time, lots of time. In the 1700's Georges-Louis Leclerc estimated the earth was 75,000 years old. This was not enough time for evolution to produce all the life forms on our planet.