ezekiel 23:20 is now apparently a drink at a new zealand pub

Scott Bailey has the story of the day:

A pub in New Zealand has introduced horse semen to its drinks menu, a stomach-churning addition tinged with the wholesome flavour of apple.

Yeah… ’cause ‘Apple’ makes everything go down better… especially Horse jizz. Dear God…

The Green Man Pub in Wellington offers the 30ml shots for a princely sum of £12 – and apparently it’s going down a treat with regulars.

The gastro-pub serves the drink chilled fresh from a Christchurch stallion farm and each shot contains about 300 million individual horse sperm cells.

Green Man pub co-owner Steven Drummond is to blame for the grimace-inducing drink, which he explained is knocked back by both male and female customers.

He advises his customers to shoot the sticky horse semen back in one gulp rather than attempt to sip the bizarre concoction.

He came up with the idea when trying to invent a new drink to spice-up a local food challenge.

—————————————————

I don’t know anyone from New Zealand, but I’m pretty much judging the country en masse right now…

Can you imagine the pickup lines in that pub?

Absolutely brutal. And yet, they’ll sell a ton of them, mostly on dares.

(BTW: Ezek 23:20 reads, “and lusted after her paramours there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose emission was like that of stallions.” At least it’s biblical, no?)

HT: Scott

“Miriam, Daughter of Yeshua, Son of Caiaphas” Inscription Announced

This morning, archaeologists from Bar Ilan University and Tel Aviv University announced the discovery of an ossuary (burial bone box) in Israel, which was recovered from thieves who had robbed a tomb.

The ossuary is unprovenanced – that is, because it was not discovered in a controlled archaeological excavation, its origin and context are unknown. However, further investigation (which I understand to be interrogation of the thieves) has led researchers to the conclusion “that the ossuary came from a burial cave in the area of the Valley of ‘Elah, in the Judean Shephelah.”

The authenticity of the ossuary and inscription were verified by Dr. Boaz Zissu of the Department of the Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology of Bar Ilan University, and Professor Yuval Goren of the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations of the Tel Aviv University using ESEM/EDS (Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope / Energy-Dispersive Spectrometer) technology. The results of the study are published in Vol. 61 of Israel Exploration Journal (published this week by the Israel Exploration Society).

The ossuary includes the Aramaic inscription, which appears to read:

מרים ברת ישוע בר קיפא כהני מעזיה דבית עמרי

which translates:

“Miriam, Daughter of Yeshua, Son of Caiaphas,
Priests of Ma’aziah from Beth ‘Imri”

or

מרים ברת ישוע בר קיפא כהן דמעזיה דבית עמרי

which translates:

“Miriam, Daughter of Yeshua, Son of Caiaphas,
Priest of Ma’aziah from Beth ‘Imri”

or, as Jack Kilmon suggests

“Miriam, Daughter of Yeshua Bar Qayafa,
Priest of (the course of) Ma’aziah of the House of ‘Omri”

(There is a question about whether the letter following the נ (nun) in כהן (cohen, or priest) is a ד (dalet), or a י (yod) with an unrelated scratch beneath it, or a מ (mem, apparently not in final form) similar to the letter that follows it. This is partially due to the fact that it is not certain whether the נ (nun) is in final form. It is longer, which would argue for a final ן (nun), but it is also curved, which would support the letter being a regular נ (nun). If it is a ד (dalet), then it would serve as a genitive construct indicator for the phrase “priest of Ma’aziah.” If it is a י (yod), then the word כהן (priest) would become the plural construct כהני מעזיה (priests of Ma’aziah), and the נ (nun) before would have to be interpreted as a standard נ (nun) not in final form. If it is a מ (mem), the result would be a pluralized כהנמ מעזיה with the construct implied (“priests [of] (the course of) Ma’aziah”), and the preceding נ (nun) before would have to be interpreted as a standard נ (nun) not in final form. All three options translate roughly the same. There will be other questions about the ש (shin) in the name Yeshua, as well as the diagonal mark to the right of the initial י (yod) in the same name, as well as a few others. I shall leave the formal epigraphical work to my Aramaic colleagues, who to be sure are already working up all possible interpretations and alternatives for this inscription.)

The ossuary is not unprecedented as ossuaries bearing the family name “Qayafa” (which many pronounce as “Caiaphas”) were among a total of twelve previously discovered in Jerusalem in 1990. I stated in an article at Bible and Interpretation:

“Twelve ossuaries were discovered in the so-called “Caiaphas” tomb, including a highly ornate ossuary discovered in situ (Ossuary 6) with two inscribed Aramaic inscriptions reading, יהוסף בר קיפא and יהוסף בר קפא (variant spellings of “Joseph, son of Caiaphas”), and another (Ossuary 3) with just the name קפא (“Caiaphas”) etched in an almost graffito fashion on the ossuary.”

The peripheral significance of this discovery to Christianity is that the High Priest Caiaphas, son-in-law of Annas, is mentioned in the trial and crucifixion of Jesus:

“First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year.” (John 18:13 NRSV)

Dr. Boaz Zissu of Bar-Ilan University made the following photo available:

The "Miriam Ossuary." Photo copyright Dr. Boaz Zissu, Bar-Ilan University.

The "Miriam Ossuary." Photo copyright Dr. Boaz Zissu, Bar-Ilan University.

The official press release is here. DO read this release for the best information about the ossuary and inscription.

News reports can be found on AP, Arutz Sheva, Jerusalem Post, Yahoo News, and more photos can be found at TimesUnion. Jerusalem Post video is here.

One can see the Aramaic inscription running from right to left along the top of the ossuary.

Regarding the end of the inscription, Arutz Sheva explains:

Ma’azyah was the name of the 24th priestly service shift at the temple. Members of this family signed the convention mentioned in the book of Nehemiah (10,9). The House of Imri refers to the priestly family of Miriam, or to the location she came from.

Steve Caruso at Aramaic Designs has offered up a mashup of the inscription with the letters filled in with black.

Caruso suggests the following:

Inscription of Miriam Ossuary, mashed up by Steve Caruso.

I have done the same below. The top image is an animated GIF (made with the help of MakeAGif) of my Photoshop fill-in of the inscription. I flash the inscription because it allows the viewer to verify precisely how I filled in the inscription (transparency, transparency, transparency!)

Animated GIF of Miriam Ossuary inscription highlighting the Aramaic Inscription

Animated GIF of Miriam Ossuary inscription highlighting the Aramaic Inscription. (Click to view.)

Below is a still photo of the inscription released by Dr. Zissu (top), and my highlight with the letters in black (and uncertain areas in gray, bottom).

Inscription of the "Miriam Ossuary" (without editing).

Inscription of the "Miriam Ossuary" (without editing).

Inscription of the "Miriam Ossuary" (with letters traced in black and gray)

Inscription of the "Miriam Ossuary" (with letters traced in black and gray)

Finally, before everyone gets carried away with what this ossuary and inscription mean, let me give the reader a quick review of what it does NOT mean:

  1. Since the ossuary was recovered from a thief, it is unprovenanced, meaning we cannot be certain of its place of origin or context. As an unprovenanced archaeological object, many academic publications that have agreed not to publish unprovenanced objects (to deter against looting and forgery) will not be publishing this ossuary. That is why you may not read about it in some of the more credible archaeological journals.
  2. The “investigation” (which I’m assuming was, in part, the interrogation of the thieves) concludes that the ossuary came from the Valley of ‘Elah, in the Shephelah, and NOT from the so-called “Caiaphas family tomb” in the Jerusalem Peace Park. There are some who understand the tomb in Jerusalem to have been the family tomb of Caiaphas, the High Priest mentioned in the Bible (Matt 26:57-68), who is said to have been involved with the trial of Jesus. If the ossuary came from elsewhere, there is a question why this ossuary would not have been found in the Caiaphas family tomb in Jerusalem. One answer may be that the Valley of ‘Elah tomb may be that of ישוע (Yeshua/Joshua/Jesus) Bar Qayafa (whose daughter, Miriam’s, ossuary was recovered), while the Jerusalem tomb may belong to יהוסף (Yehosef/Joseph), his brother.
  3. That said, the discovery of this ossuary is NOT evidence of the existence of Jesus. The ישוע (Yeshua/Jesus) mentioned in the inscription was NOT the same Jesus who is the central figure of the New Testament. Likewise, the presence of an inscription mentioning a peripheral character mentioned in the Bible does not mean that the entire story is true or historical.
  4. The inscription is NOT evidence that Jesus was tried by Caiaphas. This inscription only lends support to the understanding that there was, in fact, a priestly family named Qayafa/Caiaphas.
  5. The inscription is NOT evidence that there was a trial of Jesus. (See above.)
  6. The inscription is NOT evidence that Jesus died and was raised form the dead. That has nothing to do with this ossuary. Again, this discovery only lends support to the understanding that there was, in fact, a priestly family named Qayafa/Caiaphas.
  7. The inscription in and of itself is NOT evidence that the Bible is historically reliable, inerrant, infallible, or any other “See, I told you so” statement. The Bible is full of true facts and historical verities. No one questions this. However, the authentication of one claim does NOT mean that all claims are verifiable.

What this discovery DOES tell us is this:

  1. Someone named Miriam existed. She was apparently the daughter of  ישוע (Yeshua/Joshua/Jesus) Bar Qayafa (or the son of Qayafa/Caiaphas).
  2. If this Miriam is the daughter of Yeshua, and if that Yeshua is the son of Caiaphas, then the discovery gives us new information that the Qayafa/Caiaphas family was from the Ma’aziah order of priests from Beyt ‘Imri.
  3. Thus, the discovery of this unprovenanced ossuary provides support to the understanding that there was, in fact, a priestly family named Qayafa (Caiaphas) around the time of Jesus.

I look forward to following this story as it develops. I do NOT look forward to what will inevitably be the sensationalization of this story by some whose false or ignorant claims will be used to make money or promote a particular ideology, religious or otherwise.

unintentionally honest church sign of the day (via scott via matthew paul)

I know they didn’t necessarily mean to say it, but that’s precisely the point of this party.

CoC Block Party

They didn't necessarily mean to say it, but that's *precisely* the point of this party.

(Via Scott Bailey via Matthew Paul Turner)

the true tragedy of the nfl lockout: fantasy football

NFL LockoutMany are unsettled by the ongoing NFL lockout. But there is an even greater victim that results from the suspension of activities in the NFL: Fantasy Football players.

As University of Iowa business professor Jeff Ohlmann states:

“For many people, fantasy football has become a means to stay in touch with friends and family,” said Ohlmann, who uses fantasy football and other fantasy sports as a research and teaching tool, and also manages a team of his own. “Even if the lockout extends into the fall, I think that there will be many fantasy leagues conducting their drafts in late August and September.”

Fantasy sports has become big business in recent years and rakes in billions of dollars, and fantasy football is far and away the biggest of them. An estimated 20 million participants owned teams last season, and selling and marketing things to those owners has become lucrative. Time magazine reported that the average fantasy team owner paid $73 to join a league in 2009, and while companies like Yahoo! and ESPN.com offer membership in basic leagues for free, they add fees for premium services.”

As a fellow participant in Fantasy Football (Yahoo), I don’t know if I’ll play this season if the schedule is reduced. Fantasy Football keeps me into the season, the players, and the games. If I don’t draft well, and can’t effectively research that draft, or if the first few games are cancelled, I’ll not follow the action, lose interest, and not play.

So for the sake of Fantasy Football and statistics nerds everywhere, please end the lockout. Because it’s one thing to have drunk, die hard sports fans angry at you. It’s another thing altogether to have cyber nerds upset with you. We’re just as angry, but you don’t see us coming (probably because we aren’t burping the alphabet aloud and don’t smell like Jack Daniels).

Fantasy Football Lockout EditionAs an alternative, there is always the Fantasy Football: Lockout Edition:

“With Lockout Edition, you generate points on what a player does off the field, instead of on it,” said an ESPN.com representative. “Points will be awarded based on players who get charged with a DUI, murder, rape, possession of a firearm, possession of a controlled substance, animal cruelty, and so on.”

Top drat choices are expected to be Ben Roethlisberger, Plaxico Burress, Albert Haynesworth, Michael Vick, Kenny Britt, and others listed here in the NFL players criminal arrests database.

michael buettner on holding media (and amateurs making sensational archaeological and religious clamis) accountable

There is an excellent article by journalist Michael Buettner at Bible and Interpretation entitled, “Archaeology and the Echo Chamber: Getting the Media to Do Their Job. In the piece, Buettner describes how many journalists go about doing their research (or fail to do so, often merely rewriting press releases) and propagate false and sensational information:

As control of the media has passed to Wall Street and the MBA, newsroom staffs have been cut drastically and performance increasingly is measured more by quantity than quality. In practice, this means that while reporters are still expected to produce “enterprise” stories (longer news features that incorporate significant original reporting or research), they’re also required to bang out “spot news” every day. In many newsrooms, editors encourage reporters to look for “easy” stories, “layups” that require zero or minimal reporting. Often, these stories are just lightly rewritten press releases, with no fact-checking involved (something that has come back to haunt numerous news organizations that have been duped by hoax press releases.)

The article offers several constructive suggestions that the academic community can employ to combat sensationalistic archaeological and religious claims.

Give it a read.

near eastern archaeology vol 74 no 2 now available online

NEA CoverFrom the ASOR Blog:

ASOR is pleased to announce that NEA 74.2 (June 2011) has now been posted online at Atypon Link. This issue (and 4 years of back issues) is available to online subscribers of NEA and to ASOR members who have chosen an online subscription as part of their membership.

The following is an abbreviated table of contents:

-Stefan Münger, Jürgen Zangenberg and Juha Pakkala: Long Article on Kinneret
-Rami Arav, John F. Shroder Jr., Steven Notley: Forum Responses on Bethsaida
-Amihai Mazar: Forum Article on “The Iron Age Chronology Debate”
-Ann E. Killebrew, Lorenzo d’Alfonso, Brandon R. Olson: Fieldnotes
-Hans Barnard: Fieldnote
-Garth Gilmour: Fieldnote

A detailed table of contents is available here.

In fact, the last 4 years of ASOR journals are available to ASOR members. Click here for details.

Go, read, and learn.

thank you to rachel west and nuclear knitting!!

Nuclear Knitting

Nuclear Knitting by Rachel West

I would like to send out my utmost gratitude and a thousand thank yous to Rachel West, who has hand knitted the softest, most perfect baby blanket I’ve ever touched. It is amazing!

The blanket is grey (which is MacLaren’s middle name), with a deep blue border. There is a pic of it here. The thing I can’t get over is how incredibly soft it is – like no other knitted blanket I’ve ever touched. When Roslyn first handed it to me and said, “Feel this,” I responded, “There is no way this is hand-knitted.” Yet, sure enough, it is.

MacLaren hasn’t arrived yet, so I can’t post pix of him in it. However, when he arrives, I’ll be sure to post pix of him in his new blankey.

If you would like to get your hands on similar hand-knitted goods, I encourage you to check out Rachel’s Nuclear Knitting website and ‘like’ the Nuclear Knitting Facebook page.

Thank you again, Rachel. It’s absolutely adorable!!

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