an idea for the 2010 sbl biblioblogging session in atlanta

i am considering an idea that was floated at this year’s sbl conference in new orleans. as a part of our call for papers for the inaugural 2010 sbl biblioblogger session, we wanted to include as many contributors as possible because there are so many excellent biblioblogs and bibliobloggers. the idea is an adaption of the webby awards, which highlights the best of the web, while limiting award recipients to mere 5-word acceptance speeches.

the idea is to invite several 60-second summary contributions in either text or video blog format. then, in addition to regular paper submissions, the 20 best minute-long segments will be sequenced into a single 20-minute presentation surveying the best biblioblogs on the internet. in each 60-second presentation, a biblioblogger describes one’s blog, what one studies, and why it is relevant. this will allow us to see and understand a little bit more about a greater number of blogs, while also hearing more in-depth papers in the traditional conference manner. the one submitting a blog for consideration may write a 60-second summary or may submit a 60-second video blog. likewise, one may submit a colleague’s blog for consideration.

thoughts? other ideas? should they be 30-second clips?

please pass this post along and have those wanting to make comments comment here on this post.

thanx.

knowledge is power – on three levels

thinker by rodinknowledge is power. it is a time-honored adage understood more so by the wise than the foolish. but the power that knowledge possesses exists on three levels of increasing potency.

  1. accumulation of knowledge. the fastest way to increase power is to accumulate knowledge. the more you know, the more you grow, both in ability and in credibility. those who commit their lives to learning are better prepared for life’s challenges, respond better in crises, and over time, are looked to and admired for their advice and accomplishments. knowledge can be used for good or evil. this accumulation of knowledge is the primary level of power.
  2. transmission of knowledge (or, who you tell). the power that knowledge offers can be used to build up or tear down. thus, what one does with the knowledge one accumulates says much about a person. the application and utilization of accumulated knowledge is the second level of power. those who dedicate their lives to instruction and education choose the noble path. this dissemination of knowledge offers power and prestige to the instructor, which results from the appreciation of students and disciples for their education. this is the noble transmission of knowledge. education’s opposite, yet powerful relative is gossip, which is the transmission of knowledge intended to tear down, whether this detrimental act is intended or not. gossip is the irresponsible dissemination of knowledge. it is performed in secret, because the one gossiping understands that the power exercised in transmitting knowledge via gossip is unbecoming and destructive. everyone likes to know something, but the power that obtained knowledge possesses cannot be shown off to others unless it is transmitted. therefore, instruction is the power exercised by the public communication of worthwhile knowledge, while gossip is the power exercised ultimately to harm another. instruction and gossip are therefore polar opposites, both transmitting knowledge, both exercising power, but for completely opposite purposes.
  3. preservation of knowledge (or, who you don’t tell). the highest level of the power of knowledge rests in the preservation of knowledge. the preservation of knowledge can take the form of books written by knowledgeable and respected authors, or confidences, which are nothing more than the exercise of restraint of power by one keeping a secret. the keepers of libraries and those that control access to information are preservers of knowledge. however, one who can maintain a confidence, preserve a secret, or refrain from communicating priviledged information is the most powerful of all. it is for this reason that the greatest bits of information are often preserved as mysteries and the most important caches of accumulated wisdom throughout the ages are held by those responsible enough to disseminate this collected knowledge only to those of good character and tested heart. a trusted confidant is both valued and rare because the power of confidence is difficult to obtain. far too often it falls prey to the less disciplined practice of gossip. still, the one who can disseminate information publicly and properly, while keeping privy information in confidence is the most powerful person of all.

sarah drew is on ‘glee’ this wed, nov 18 at 9 pm on fox

for those of you who watch glee on fox, be sure not to miss this wednesday’s episode. sarah drew is on glee this wed, nov 18th, 2009 at 9 pm on fox. besides being an outstanding actress in her own right, she has an ancient near east connection: sarah is the wife of peter lanfer, ucla doctoral candidate in near eastern languages and cultures studying hebrew bible and second temple judaism.

be sure to watch.

lessons on ‘loving’ oneself from spain

any psychologist or counselor will tell you it is important to learn to love yourself. apparently, this is more difficult in spain than in other places, so a region in spain is offering to help their citizens:

The government of Extremadura launched a campaign based around the slogan “pleasure is in your own hands”, which gives advice on masturbation.

that’s right, gone is the famed self-love advice like:

  • “you must love yourself before you love another. by accepting yourself and fully being what you are, your simple presence can make others happy.”
  • “the most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely”
  • “love yourself, for if you don’t, how can you expect anybody else to love you?”

but, these time tested aphorisms are only the beginning. one must truly practice in order to be perfect. so now there’s a class.

read the article to learn how.

i always figured people learn how to do this on their own…

(with thanx to jim west.)

the copper scroll project gives an exclusive tv interview

Jim Barfield on GLC talking about the Copper Scroll Project.

Jim Barfield on GLC talking about the Copper Scroll Project.

jim barfield and chris knight, amateur archaeologists and directors of the copper scroll project, have finally landed a primetime television interview!! the two met with glc (god’s learning channel) founders al and tommie cooper, live from their satellite-access living room studio. the ark-eologists (they literally are looking for the ark of the covenant, see 17:10) – gave an exclusive, sit down interview to al and tommie and filled them in on their exciting summer. click here to watch the video hosted by waytozion.org.

there is but one word to describe this video: classic. it is simply classic!!! you must watch the first 10 minutes of this video. it is so, so very worth it. seriously. and set aside your whole, ‘watching the video only dignifies their actions’ argument. trust me, this is worth it. at least watch the first 10 minutes of this painfully long 1 hour 45 minute video. the last 90 minutes are admittedly excruciating, as jimmy barfield talks about himself for most of the interview. barfield does allow chris knight to get in a few words (on his cue), but most of the interview is barfield attempting to synchronize significant events in his own life with significant events in the life of the scrolls and the nation of israel, thereby providing irrefutable evidence that barfield’s interpretations are correct, god revealed this revelation to barfield personally, and that their mission is the father’s will. the bulk of the interview is rehash of barfield’s earlier videos, but the first 10 minutes are pure television gold.

Jim Barfield on GLC talking about the Copper Scroll Project.

Jim Barfield on GLC talking about the Copper Scroll Project.

after you get past the bob ross-inspired painted landscape background of the sea of galilee and the ceramic lion lying down with the lamb in front of the coffee table holding up what can only be described as the last remnants of the garden of eden, the interview will blow your mind.

===

here are a couple of great lines from the interview:

speaking about the fact that their dig was cancelled shortly after it was begun, a bewildered barfield says at 2:58:

‘there’s no one gonna disrupt the timing of the father.’

Jim Barfield on GLC talking about the Copper Scroll Project

Jim Barfield on GLC talking about the Copper Scroll Project

that is to say, the fact that barfield and the copper scroll project were shut down shortly after it was discovered that the israel antiquities was working with them must be a part of the will and timing of god. it certainly has nothing to do with the fact that the iaa was embarrassed to be seen working with a bunch of amateur observers (including a fire marshal and a compact tractor salesman), who were raising funds and claiming to be ‘leading’ an excavation for the copper scroll. it certainly has nothing to do with the fact that a group of archaeologists began to question why the iaa would be mixed up with a group like this. no, the shutting down of the copper scroll project is all a part of god’s big plan.

===

another great line from barfield speaks just as much about the israel antiquities authority as it does the copper scroll project nonsense. at 4:12 in the video, barfield claims that he met with shuka dorfman, head of the iaa. barfield claims dorfman gave them the ok to dig. describing this unprecedented opportunity, barfield says:

what they’ve [the iaa] done was an un…, is an unprecedented dig in israel. they dug, the antiquities authority of israel dug on the research on a fireman from oklahoma. [laughter] that was unprecedented.

The Tabernacle treasures Jim Barfield says are described by the Copper Scroll and buried at Qumran.

The Tabernacle treasures Jim Barfield says are described by the Copper Scroll and buried at Qumran. In case you missed them, here they are on one of Jimmy Barfield's powerpoint slides.

i could not have said it better. the idea of the iaa following the ‘research’ of a fireman from oklahoma with no archaeological training and a ‘kindergarten’ level understanding of hebrew truly is unprecedented.

===

barfield hit a little closer to home when he actually referred to the archaeologists that have critiqued the copper scroll project and shown that the entire campaign is sheer and utter nonsense.  in an exchange with al and tommie cooper, barfield states:

barfield: there are gentlemen throughout the world that are angry at me, that hold a ph.d. they are…uh, you can go on the web and you’ll see that they are just hammering me!

al: why?

barfield: i don’t know.

tommie: because he’s an upstart.

al: oh, you don’t have the post hole digger thing on your name.

barfield: there ya go. i don’t have the uh, credentials. i don’t have a string of letters behind my name. and with all due respect to these men, i’m, i’m not trying to take over their, their occupation, i just happened to figure out something – i found something – and i just wanna, i just wanna present it to israel, and if i’m correct, and if they’re still there, i wanna get ‘em back into the hands of the israelis. so, there’s no reason for them to be angry with me. i’ll be out of their way soon if they will just let me dig. one way or another we really need to find out.

Jim Barfield on GLC talking about he Copper Scroll Project

Jim Barfield on GLC talking about the Copper Scroll Project

first, the sheer lack of understanding of the value of an education is striking. post hole digger? really? only the uneducated don’t realize they are uneducated. only the uneducated don’t appreciate what it means to have an education. i would never claim to know what a fire marshal does because i visited a fire station. nor would i claim to even pretend to be able to know how to fly a helicopter because i enjoyed riding in one. i don’t have training in that field. therefore, i don’t pretend to be an authority in that field, even if i’m very enthusiastic about it.

i simply have to laugh a this notion that not having ‘credentials’ makes barfield’s ‘accomplishment’ more significant. it does not. what has barfield accomplished? what has he found? having no credentials does not mean barfield is impressive, it simply means he lacks credentials – proper education and training in a field he obviously doesn’t understand. and bashing the educated doesn’t make you smart just like bashing the rich doesn’t make you wealthy!

i do not sign my name:

Robert R. Cargill, AA, BS, MS, MA, MDiv, PhD

i don’t sign my name this way because letters behind one’s name does not make one any more correct than one without a formal education. rather, it is one’s methodology and willingness to submit to critical peer-review that determines whether or not one’s theories will stand up to scientific and critical examination. i am not objecting to mr. barfield’s lack of education. i’m objecting to his methodology, reasoning, and conclusions. were jimmy barfield’s conclusions the result of sound methodology and critical cross-examination, and found to be credible, i’d accept them whether he went to college or not. but he didn’t. mr. barfield has devised an absurd set of timelines and coincidences, interwoven them with his own life and a political and religious ideology, and is attempting to sell it to the public without even stopping to consider the last 60 years of accepted, tested scholarship.

second, mr. barfield is incorrect about scholars’ anger towards him. stop saying we’re angry. we’re not angry. not in the least. we’re scholars. our job is to point out real research, expound on its significance to the public, and warn the public about charlatans and fakes. the copper scroll project is, in my professional judgment, nothing but circularly reasoned nonsensical speculation. that’s it. there is not a single shred of evidence to support a single thing barfield says, and most existing evidence points to the contrary. he has found nothing. simply crying ‘if you’ll only let me dig deeper’ is laughable. there’s an expression about digging oneself into a hole. put down the shovel mr. barfield. there’s nothing there.

mr. barfield misunderstands a few things. the copper scroll was not authored by jeremiah. all of the treasures are not buried at qumran. the qumran tower is not a pyramid (that’s still my favorite). the date press to the south of the southeast potter’s station is not a ‘fountain of intercourse’ where married couples take a bath after they do it. it’s all sheer nonsense! we’re not angry, we’re just informing the public of the multitude of problems with your outlandish theories.

Jim Barfield accidentally mentions the name of the IAA 'archaeologist' working with the Copper Scroll Project.

Jim Barfield accidentally mentions the name of the IAA 'archaeologist' working with the Copper Scroll Project.

third, did barfield really say, ‘i’ll be out of their way soon if they will just let me dig?’ really?? where are you going to dig? who is going to permit your excavations? the iaa? no one in the state of israel is going to let you and your metal detector go anywhere near qumran. not anymore. and did you really say, ‘one way or another we really need to find out?’ one way or another? mr. barfield, please articulate what you meant by ‘or another.’ if you cannot dig in a permitted excavation, what is this ‘other’ way you will be digging?

and did shuka dorfman really approve barfield’s excavation as barfield claims? did he really summon the two main iaa qumran archaeologists for judea and samaria and instruct them to proceed with this excavation following barfield’s research? i highly doubt that. in the video, jim barfield keeps referring to this unnamed ‘archaeologist’ that was assigned to their project, but no name is ever mentioned and the ‘archaeologist’ page on the copper scroll project website is blank. either there was no archaeologist, or the archaeologist has ordered barfield to never use his name in association with the copper scroll project. which is it?

(by the way, at 45:22 in the video, barfield accidentally says the name of the iaa archaeologist helping him with this dead sea scrolls treasure hunt at qumran. barfield refers to him as ‘yuval.’ so the question becomes: what qumran archaeologist working for the iaa in judea and samaria named yuval was working with the copper scroll project? and was he really working for/with barfield, or is barfield making this up?)

===

Chris Knight holds up a facsimile of the Copper Scroll that Jim Barfield made

Chris Knight holds up a facsimile of the Copper Scroll that Jim Barfield made

another interesting statement comes at 8:07 when barfield is explaining how they want to continue to work with the israel antiquities authority. they are disappointed with the iaa because they did not allow him to ‘dig to the proper depth,’ but barfield claims that they were, in fact, sanctioned by the iaa and working with iaa supervisors. what’s more, barfield claims the iaa paid for the excavation at qumran:

they’ve [the iaa] been wonderful to us. they’ve done some… they’ve done some wonderful things. and it didn’t cost us anything. they paid for the, the diggers. they paid for the… they paid for everything… the equipment. so now they’re working on the word of a fireman from oklahoma. that gives me some credibility.

that the iaa paid for everything (the equipment, the diggers, etc.,) is troublesome. if this is true, i must ask: why was the iaa working with these people? and why is the iaa paying for it. that is, unless the iaa was going to dig at qumran anyway, and they let the copper scroll project bunch tag along and observe, in which case barfield is misrepresenting his role on this excavation. what is even more troublesome for the iaa is barfield’s continual claim that the iaa is ‘working on the word of a fireman from oklahoma.’ scary indeed. i know of only two other people who routinely praise the archaeologists working for the iaa digging at qumran. strange bedfellows indeed.

an even more problematic question must be asked: if the iaa is paying for everything: why is the copper scroll project raising money?? why does barfield need to raise money of the iaa is funding the excavations?

===

still another great exchange takes place at 8:42 when tommie asks barfield if he actually knows hebrew:

tommie: jim, did, did you, um, study hebrew, do you, did… to know how to read hebrew?

barfield: i’m on about a kindergarten level. at best. and people say, ‘well how in the… and these ph.d. guys are jumping all over this. how did a guy with a kindergarten level understanding of hebrew figure this copper scroll out? it’s not that hard. here’s what i did: i used an investigative technique… i used a very technical piece of equipment. it’s called a uh, strong’s concordance. that thing works wonderful… i got the strong’s concordance number and i added it to it in case anyone ever questioned where i came up with this word at. i could show them. and it worked beautiful.

i don’t know where to begin. barfield admits to having a kindergarten level understanding of hebrew. this perhaps explains why barfield can’t tell the difference between mishnaic-style hebrew and biblical hebrew. and yes, we ph.d. types are ‘jumping all over this.’ think of this: barfield is claiming to have properly interpreted the text of the copper scroll, but only reads hebrew at a kindergarten level and can’t tell mishnaic hebrew from standard biblical hebrew. this probably explains why barfield believes jeremiah wrote the copper scroll.

and a strong’s concordance? for mishnaic hebrew??

===

finally, at 23:38, we are told why barfield and knight are doing what they are doing and how they are doing it. according to knight:

Jim Barfield disappointed that the Copper Scroll Project was not allowed to 'dig to the proper depth' to allow them to find the treasures of the Copper Scroll

Jim Barfield is disappointed that the Copper Scroll Project was not allowed to 'dig to the proper depth' to allow them to find the treasures of the Copper Scroll

jim and i were friends since 03, and when we… he discovered the copper scroll and he deciphered it, as we began to pray about it and really f… try to figure out why in the world would god reveal to jim and m… myself to associate with him and helpin’ him to s… to research the copper scroll, and we could only come to one conclusion, and it was, and it was sealed our mission: was that the items are to be retrieved and returned to the nation of israel.

according to knight, jimmy barfield ‘discovered’ the copper scroll. jimmy barfield ‘deciphered’ the copper scroll. and most shockingly according to knight, god apparently revealed all this information to jimmy barfield for the specific purpose of discovering the items from the tabernacle and returning them to the nation of israel (before the palestinians get them).

again, i am speechless. i literally have nothing to say to that.

===

another bombshell from barfield comes at the 35:31 mark:

because jeremiah… it, it is my undying opinion that he was the teacher of righteousness written about in the dead sea scrolls.

wow. just wow! jeremiah, who lived in the 6th century bce, is the ‘teacher of righteousness’ written about in mishnaic hebrew on the copper scroll (dating to the late 1st/early 2nd century ce). go figure. this must come from barfield’s kindergarten level understanding of hebrew.

===

one final area of concern comes when barfield mentions that someone from the travel channel heard about him and interviewed him for a program called ‘secret worlds.’ i resolutely do not believe that any network, production studio, or director would have the lack of sense to put jimmy barfield on any television show. i have a feeling that any producer who gives barfield air time will suffer greatly from tarnished credibility. it will most likely be a black mark on their resumé, and will cause legitimate  archaeologists to avoid them from barfield forward.

===

in sum, i am not out to make fun. i am not out to waste time on nonsense. it is important, however, for scholars to address ridiculous claims made by amateurs with the same vigor we critique those within the academy. popular amateurs are not exempt from peer-review simply because they avoid it. it is the responsibility of real archaeologists and scholars to help the public as well as production companies to understand when they are being lied to and being fed mere speculation. it is the responsibility of the academy to provide credible original research and to protect scholarship from claims from the likes of jimmy barfield and the copper scroll project.

n.b. don’t miss the commercial break at the 49:00 mark. again: classic!

new aliases popping up surrounding the criminal investigation of raphael golb

Anonymous Aliasseveral have noticed new aliases popping up around the internet commenting on articles and news items reporting on the criminal investigation of raphael golb, son of university of chicago oriental institute historian norman golb, on felony and misdemeanor counts of identity theft, forgery, criminal impersonation, and aggravated harassment. golb is accused of using multiple aliases to impersonate and harass perceived rivals of his father. the new aliases point readers to a blog containing a publicly available copy of the motion to dismiss the charges of forgery, identity theft, and criminal impersonation against raphael golb on the basis of ‘free speech’ filed by mr. golb’s attorney, ronald kuby.

these new aliases may look similar to the posts made by raphael golb’s chief alias ‘charles gadda‘ and others. however, we should not be quick to accuse ‘dead sea troll‘ and ‘rich cohen’ of being new sock puppets of raphael golb. for all that we know, this may be a tactic used by mr. golb’s defense. the defense could, theoretically, get someone to create new accounts on various blogs, message boards, and news websites and post ambiguous ‘copycat’ messages not unlike those of our old friend ‘charles gadda,’ and then wait for someone to accuse ‘dead sea troll’ of being raphael golb, when in fact, he or she is not. then, in court, the defense could claim, ‘see how easy it is to falsely accuse someone of being raphael golb?’

i’m willing to give this next round of new aliases like ‘dead sea troll’ the benefit of the doubt. it very well may be that some friendly newcomer has taken an interest in the never-ending saga that is the criminal case against raphael golb. there is absolutely no reason to believe these new comments are the work of raphael golb, especially when some of the ip addresses used to create and login to these new aliases are coming from some very interesting locations in europe.

one should not rush to conclusions, but rather, should rely on verifiable, hard evidence to demonstrate that ‘charles gadda’ is, in fact, raphael golb. hard evidence can be found at who is charles gadda.com. or, if you are still not convinced by ip addresses, word-for-word emails sent by different aliases from different email acounts, and email traces, you can simply take raphael golb’s father, dr. norman golb’s word for it.

so while the motion to dismiss the charges against golb still does not concede that raphael golb was charles gadda, raphael golb’s father, norman golb, has reportedly done so on his behalf. i’m sure the defense appreciated the elder dr. golb’s input.

in conclusion, we should take these new aliases with a grain of salt. i don’t think they are the work of raphael golb and neither should you. perhaps it’s just one more ardent, real life supporter of the theories of norman golb and the innocence of his son, raphael.

update: golb’s motion to dismiss the charges against him available online

yet another anonymous wordpress blog has suddenly appeared linking to a motion to dismiss the charges against raphael golb in the felony identity theft, aggravated harassment, criminal impersonation, and forgery case involving the son of university of chicago historian norman golb and the dead sea scrolls.

i’ll leave a formal response to this motion to the ny da’s office. they do this kind of thing. i’ll just say that calling golb’s actions ‘parody’ is literally laughable. not snl ha ha funny, but simply laughable. also, to argue that impersonation, forgery, and identity theft aren’t ‘criminal’ unless you made money off the crime (or cost the victim cash) is equally absurd. there are numerous errors in the motion to dismiss, but i’ll let the da’s office respond to them.

as for golb’s defense attorney, ronald kuby, i must offer some genuine props. as many of you know, one of my all time favorite movies is the big lebowski. there’s way too much ‘cursing’ for my liking, but the movie is a classic. and anyone who can land a mention in a classic movie where the central premise is, ‘the dude abides,’ is cool. if you’ve never seen the big lebowski, it’s a movie about a complete slacker who slides through life and finds himself caught up in a scandal. and when he wants a lawyer, he utters a simple name.

listen to hear the name he calls.

you can read the pdf. i get a mention in there. still not sure about all the obsession with me being a christian. what’s the harm in that? ;-) the dead sea scrolls have nothing to do with christians or christianity. and while some jewish sectarians with ties to the temple wrote the dead sea scrolls, i never refer to them as essenes in my publications. yet, the entire introduction of the motion of dismiss looks like rehash of ‘charles gadda’s’ old blogs. it’s almost as if raphael golb helped write it, but then again, what do i know about multiple people authoring a single document? my skill is in demonstrating common authorship of multiple documents. ;-)

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