Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

The Jesus-wife source is dated to eight-century Egypt: could it be authentic?

J. Warner Wallace tweeted this post from Al Mohler, which talks about the scholarly review of a recent discovery.

Excerpt:

Last week, the Harvard Theological Review released a much-delayed series of articles on the fragment. After a series of investigations undertaken by diverse scholars, the general judgment claimed by Professor King is that the fragment probably is not a forgery — or at least that it dates back to ancient times. The analysis suggested that the fragment dated from about four centuries later than Professor King had first suggested. This would place the fragment, if authentic, in the context of eighth-century Egypt — hundreds of years after the New Testament was written and completed.

The language used by the national media in reporting the story this time reveals the lack of confidence now placed in the fragment. The Boston Globe reported that the tests “have turned up no evidence of modern forgery,” but the reporter had to acknowledge that at least one of the scholars writing in the Harvard Theological Review insisted that the fragment is not only a forgery, but an amateurish effort. The New York Times ran a story that featured a headline announcing that the fragment “is more likely ancient than fake.” Note the uncertainty evident even in the headline.

In her major article released last week, Professor King defended the fragment’s authenticity, but acknowledged that — all previous sensationalism aside — “It is not entirely clear, however, how many women are referred to [in the fragment], who they are, precisely what is being said about them, or what larger issues are under consideration.”

This is a very different message than was sent back in 2012. Professor King now acknowledges that all the references to females in the fragment might be “deployed metaphorically as figures of the Church, or heavenly Wisdom, or symbolically/typologically as brides of Christ or even mothers.” In other words, the fragment might not even conflict with Christian orthodoxy.

The most declarative article in the Harvard Theological Review, however, dismisses the entire fragment as a modern forgery. Professor Leo Depuydt of Brown University argues that the fragment’s authenticity is “out of the question.” He points to several factors, including the fact that a set of typographical errors in the fragment matches a set of errors in an online edition of the “Gospel of Thomas,” an ancient Gnostic text. Depuydt put the chances of coincidence with respect to these errors as one in a trillion. Depuydt states that he “has not the slightest doubt that the document is a forgery, and not a very good one at that.”

Taken as a whole, the issue of the Harvard Theological Review released last week includes some scholars who stalwartly defend the fragment as authentic, some who argue that there is no convincing proof that it is a forgery, and at least one who argues that the case for authenticity is laughable.

Previously when I blogged about this I noted that like sensational fiction writer Dan Brown, Karen King is a feminist, and anxious to insert women into more prominent roles in Christian history.

Mohler picked up on it too:

The larger background includes the fact that Professor King has devoted much of her scholarly career to making a case that the early church falsely constructed an orthodox understanding of Jesus that minimized the role of women. Back in 2003 she released The Gospel of Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle, in which she argued that at least some ancient texts pointed to Mary Magdalene as an apostle. In 2012 she told the writer for Smithsonian: “You’re talking to someone who’s trying to integrate a whole set of ‘heretical’ literature into the standard history.”

Professor King, along with others such as Professor Elaine Pagels of Princeton University, reject traditional Christianity and have turned time and again to ancient Gnostic documents, such as were found in 1945 in Nag Hammadi in Egypt, to argue that early Christianity marginalized some theological voices and standardized doctrinal orthodoxy in order to maintain doctrinal purity.

I think this is why media outlets, who are sympathetic with this goal, would trumpet an eighth century discovery over the 1st century gospels. Let me be clear. Nothing from the eight century can be considered authentic if it contradicts multiple, independent first century sources. The only thing driving the media frenzy on this discovery is feminism, pure and simple.

I just want to say that I don’t always agree with Al Mohler, especially on marriage and men’s rights issues, where I think his exegesis of the Bible is overly influenced by liberal feminism. So to have him agreeing with me on King’s “scholarship” is a good thing.

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Sharyl Attkisson on Fox News describing White House harassment of journalists

You’ll remember that Sharyl Attkisson used to work at CBS News, and did the best investigative journalism on the Obama administration’s”Fast and Furious” gun smuggling to Mexican drug cartels, and then again on the CIA cover-up of the Obama administration’s foreign policy weakness in the Benghazi massacre. I always disliked her as a journalist when she was attacking the Bush administration so effectively, but I’ve sort of realized that she just thinks that it’s her job to attack and expose whoever is in power. But whereas the Bush administration never did anything to her, the Obama administration is different.

The Daily Caller reports.

Excerpt:

Former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson accused the White House of running an unprecedented pressure campaign against journalists, claiming they are pursuing a “particularly aggressive, well-organized” strategy “designed to have some kind of a chilling effect” on the American press.

Attkisson spoke with Fox News’ Howard Kurtz on Sunday about her early departure from CBS and her battles with the Obama administration for access to information. An investigative reporter who covered White House bugbears like Benghazi and Fast and Furious, she left CBS before her contract expired because she felt network executives inappropriately shot down her stories.

But in her conversation with Kurtz, Attkission made it clear that she ultimately blames the Obama administration itself for her bosses’ timidity.

“I think any journalist who has been covering Washington for a few years would agree… that there is pressure coming to bear on journalists for just doing their job in ways that have never come to bear before,” she began.

“There have always been tensions, there have always been calls from the White House — under any administration, I assume — when they don’t like a particular story,” she admitted. “But it is particularly aggressive under the Obama administration, and I think it’s a campaign that’s very well organized and designed to have sort of a chilling effect.”

“And to some degree,” she continued, “has been somewhat successful in getting broadcast producers who don’t really want to deal with the headache of it. Why put on the controversial stories that we are going to have to fight people on when we can fill the broadcast with other perfectly decent stories that don’t ruffle the same feathers?”

The reporter claimed she and her bosses both received direct pushback from the White House, including phone calls and emails pressuring them to change or retract stories.

Newsbusters has more:

Kurtz asked how Attkisson feels about the charge of liberal bias leading to soft coverage of Obama. “The press in general seems to be very shy about challenging this administration, as if it’s making some sort of political statement, rather than just doing our job as watchdogs,” Attkisson said.

ATTKISSON: I didn’t run into that same kind of sentiment [at CBS] as I did in the Obama administration when I covered the Bush administration very aggressively, on its secrecy and lack of Freedom of Information responses, and its poor management of the Food and Drug Administration and the national laboratories, the Halliburton-Iraq questions of fraud. I mean, there was one thing after another. The bait-and-switch of TARP, the bank bailout program. All of those stories under Bush were met with a good reception. There were different managers as well, but no one accused me of being a mouthpiece for the liberals at that time.

I’m surprised that the communist Democrat Party would suppress freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of the press. Communists have never done that before in history, have they? They never put in place disastrous plans and then had to cover it all up by suppressing journalists. And they certainly never did it in the Soviet Union, Cambodia, Vietnam, and everywhere else communism’s been tried. Whenever government government gets really, really big, we should expect individual liberties to increase. Right?

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Media declines to report on pro-gun control Democrat arrested for arms smuggling

Dr. Glenn Reynolds writes about it in USA Today, and makes the point about media bias.

Excerpt: (links removed)

It sounds like something out of a Hollywood thriller: Anti-terrorist politician actually running guns to terrorists. But that’s precisely what’s been charged in California, although with a final plot twist that Hollywood would never imagine.

California State senator (and, until last week, candidate for secretary of state) Leland Yee was well-known as an anti-gun activist. Then, last week, he was indicted for, yes, conspiring to smuggle guns and rocket launchers between mobsters and terrorists in exchange for massive bribes. Some highlights, as excerpted by San Francisco Magazine.

Yee told an FBI agent that, in exchange for $2 million in cash, he’d fill a shopping list of weapons, which he took personal responsibility for delivering, according to the indictment. He also allegedly “masterminded” a complex scheme bring illegal weapons into the country, agreeing to “facilitate” a meeting with an illegal arms dealer to arrange for the weapons to be imported via Newark, N.J. In arranging all of this, the indictment said, Yee relied on connections with Filipino terrorist groups who could supply “heavy” weapons, including the Muslim terrorists of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Yee allegedly noted that the Muslim terrorists had no reservations about kidnapping, extortion and murder.

This all sounds like news. You’ve got charges of huge bribes, rampant hypocrisy, illegal weapons and even a connection with foreign terrorists — and from a leading politician in an important state.

But — and here’s the part Hollywood would miss — outside of local media like San Francisco magazine, the coverage was surprisingly muted.The New York Times buried the story as a one-paragraph Associated Press report on page A21, with the bland dog-bites-man headline, “California: State Senator Accused of Corruption.” This even though Yee was suspended, along with two others, from the California state senate in light of the indictment.

CNN, home (also until last week) of Piers Morgan, whom Yee had praised for his anti-gun activism, didn’t report the story at all.

Is this surprising? Not really. After all, the Democrats are currently being investigated for smuggling assault weapons to Mexican drug cartels - weapons that were used to murder at least one Border Patrol officer. Handing guns to criminals and terrorists is normal Democrat behavior – they even shipped tanks and F-16 fighters to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. When the Democrats say “gun control” they mean no guns for the good guys. Plenty of guns for the bad guys, and at taxpayer expense. Yes, they really are this crazy. And the media, of course, largely ignores it.

Let’s take a look at the peer-reviewed studies.

Peer-reviewed academic studies of media bias

Let’s take a look at peer-reviewed academic studies of media bias, and see if they confirm or falsify what Pew Research found.

Here’s a UCLA study on media bias.

Excerpt:

Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS’ “Evening News,” The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal.

Only Fox News’ “Special Report With Brit Hume” and The Washington Times scored right of the average U.S. voter.

The most centrist outlet proved to be the “NewsHour With Jim Lehrer.” CNN’s “NewsNight With Aaron Brown” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” were a close second and third.

“Our estimates for these outlets, we feel, give particular credibility to our efforts, as three of the four moderators for the 2004 presidential and vice-presidential debates came from these three news outlets — Jim Lehrer, Charlie Gibson and Gwen Ifill,” Groseclose said. “If these newscasters weren’t centrist, staffers for one of the campaign teams would have objected and insisted on other moderators.”

The fourth most centrist outlet was “Special Report With Brit Hume” on Fox News, which often is cited by liberals as an egregious example of a right-wing outlet. While this news program proved to be right of center, the study found ABC’s “World News Tonight” and NBC’s “Nightly News” to be left of center. All three outlets were approximately equidistant from the center, the report found.

“If viewers spent an equal amount of time watching Fox’s ‘Special Report’ as ABC’s ‘World News’ and NBC’s ‘Nightly News,’ then they would receive a nearly perfectly balanced version of the news,” said Milyo, an associate professor of economics and public affairs at the University of Missouri at Columbia.”

Here’s a Harvard University study on media bias.

Excerpt:

The programming studied on Fox News offered a somewhat more positive picture… of Republicans and more negative one of Democrats compared with other media outlets. Fox News stories about a Republican candidate were most likely to be neutral (47%), with the remainder more positive than negative (32% vs. 21% negative). The bulk of that positive coverage went to Giuliani (44% positive), while McCain still suffered from unflattering coverage (20% positive vs. 35% negative).

When it came to Democratic candidates, the picture was more negative. Again, neutral stories had a slight edge (39%), followed by 37% negative and 24% positive. And, in marked contrast from the rest of the media, coverage of Obama was twice as negative as positive: 32% negative vs. 16% positive and 52% neutral.

But any sense here that the news channel was uniformly positive about Republicans or negative about Democrats is not manifest in the data.”

And more from a study reported by NBC News.

Excerpt:

MSNBC.com identified 143 journalists who made political contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign, according to the public records of the Federal Election Commission. Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 16 gave to Republicans. Two gave to both parties.

The donors include CNN’s Guy Raz, now covering the Pentagon for NPR, who gave to Kerry the same month he was embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq; New Yorker war correspondent George Packer; a producer for Bill O’Reilly at Fox; MSNBC TV host Joe Scarborough; political writers at Vanity Fair; the editor of The Wall Street Journal’s weekend edition; local TV anchors in Washington, Minneapolis, Memphis and Wichita; the ethics columnist at The New York Times; and even MTV’s former presidential campaign correspondent.

Those are the facts.

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State department: not building the Keystone XL pipeline could increase greenhouse gas emissions

From CNS News.

Excerpt:

Not building the 875-mile Keystone XL Pipeline could result in the release of up to 42 percent more greenhouse gases than would be released by building it, according to the State Department.

Not building the pipeline “is unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the [Canadian] oil sands or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the United States,” the department noted in a long-awaited environmental report released January 31st.

But the “No Build” option is likely to result in an increased number of oil spills, six more deaths annually, and up to 42 percent higher greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the State Department concluded.

The proposed 36-inch pipeline would transport 830,000 barrels of crude oil each day from western Canada through the Bakken oil fields of Montana and South Dakota before connecting to an existing pipeline in Nebraska on its way to Gulf Coast refineries.

The project will create an estimated 42,100 jobs and add $3.4 billion to the U.S. economy.

This report follows last week’s report showing that the pipeline would have no major environmental impact.

Excerpt:

The long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline cleared a major hurdle toward approval Friday, a serious blow to environmentalists’ hopes that President Barack Obama will block the controversial project running more than 1,000 miles from Canada through the heart of the U.S.

The State Department reported no major environmental objections to the proposed $7 billion pipeline, which has become a symbol of the political debate over climate change. Republicans and some oil- and gas-producing states in the U.S. — as well as Canada’s minister of natural resources — cheered the report, but it further rankled environmentalists already at odds with Obama and his energy policy.

Now the State Department is one of the most liberal departments in the government. Unfortunately, this has not appeased the great climate science experts in Hollywood, who donate so much money to Democrat election campaigns. So long as the money keeps flowing from the high school drop-out celebrities, don’t expect this pipeline to get built. For the Democrats, it’s all about staying in power.

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Gay New Jersey waitress hate crime revealed to be a hoax

NBC News reports:

Excerpt:

After a gay server at a New Jersey restaurant said a customer denied her a tip and wrote her a hateful note on the receipt, a local family contacted NBC 4 New York and said their receipt shows they paid a tip and didn’t write any such note.

Dayna Morales, a former Marine and a server at Gallop Asian Bistro in Bridgewater, posted a photo on Facebook earlier this month, showing the bill with a line through the space for a tip. The photo of the receipt showed someone had written, “I’m sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle.”

Morales indicated in her Facebook post, and in subsequent media interviews – including with NBC 4 New York – that the customer wrote that line.

But a family contacted NBC 4 New York claiming their receipt from the restaurant shows they did leave a tip, and provided what they said was a credit card statement as proof.

The husband and wife, who asked to remain anonymous, showed NBC 4 New York a receipt that appeared to be printed at the same minute, on the same date, for the same $93.55 total, except with an $18 tip.

They also provided a document they said was a Visa bill, which appears to indicate their card was charged for the meal plus the tip, for a total of $111.55.

The couple told NBC 4 New York that they believed their receipt was used for a hoax. The wife says she is left-handed and could not have made the slash in the tip line, which she said looks to be drawn from the right.

“We’ve never not left a tip when someone gave good service, and we would never leave a note like that,” the wife said.

The husband said he and his wife have both worked in restaurants and believe in the value of tipping, and noted that he didn’t vote for Gov. Chris Christie because the governor doesn’t support gay marriage.

“Never would a message like that come from us,” he said.

Morales told NBC 4 New York on Monday that she was certain she did not receive a tip, and insisted the handwriting on the receipt was not hers. When asked if there had been some sort of misunderstanding, she said, “I don’t know, all I know is what I’ve been saying.”

A manager and the restaurant owner insisted they had the original ticket for the $93.55 charge, but would not produce the receipt for NBC 4 New York and could not explain why the family’s credit card was charged for more.

This is actually not the first time that the left has faked hate crimes against itself. Here is a fairly recent article by respected writer David Freddoso that catalogs over a dozen recent hate crime hoaxes by the political left.

My favorites:

2013: Award-winning liberal blogger and 28-year-old University of Wyoming student Meg Lanker Simons goes on trial in October for allegedly anonymously threatening herself with rape on Facebook, then lying to police about it.

2012: A Montana man admitted he’d made up a story about being attacked because he was gay. He was embarrassed that he’d hurt himself doing a backflip outside a Missoula bar, so he made up an attack.

2012: Aimee Whitchurch and Kristel Conklin threatened themselves by painting their home with anti-gay graffiti and hanging a noose on their door, then reported the incident and insinuated that their neighbors were responsible. They pleaded guilty and got off the hook with 12 months’ probation and community service.

2012: Olivia McRae and Tanasia Linton, two students at Montclair State University in New Jersey, reported that racist graffiti had been scrawled on their door. Days later, they were charged with making a false report, accused of writing the message themselves.

2012: Alexandra Pennell, a student at Central Connecticut State University, claimed to have received threatening anti-gay messages. When it was discovered she’d sent them to herself, she was expelled and barred from all state universities for five years.

2011-12: Khalilah Ford was expelled from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside for an especially frightening hoax that reportedly prompted some students to drop out of school from fear. She circulated an anonymously penned list of black students with a threat that they’d be dead soon, including herself on the hit-list. A second student, Janet Uppman, was also expelled for writing a racial epithet on a white board as part of the hoax. Both hoaxers got off easy — they were issued tickets for $400.

2011: UNC-Chapel Hill freshman Quinn Matney claimed to have been branded with a hot object by someone who called him an anti-gay slur. In fact, the wound was self-inflicted. When friends noticed it, he made up the story out of embarrassment to explain the injury. A friend, believing he’d actually been attacked, urged him to report it to police, and he did.

2008: Elmhurst College student Safia Jilani claimed to have been attacked in a bathroom by a masked gunman and to have had her locker marked with a swastika, both because of her Islamic faith. At the time, her report caused a campus lockdown. She was later indicted for making a false report.

2007: Colorado University student Alta Rae Merkling claimed to have been attacked by a group of men who cut an “X” into her face, shouting, “X marks the f*ggot!” She was later charged with filing a false report.

2007: Case Western Reserve statistics Prof Ramani Sri Pilla mailed hate letters to herself and then falsely accused her co-workers to the FBI — apparently an attempt to bolster a racial discrimination lawsuit she was bringing against her university. She got six months in prison and must pay the costs of the investigation — $66,000.

2004: Claremont Professor Kerri Dunn slashed her own tires, and broke her own windows, and vandalized her own car with anti-semitic messages. An activist who constantly inveighed against hate, she had been seen vandalizing her own car by two random people in the parking lot. She ended up being sentenced to a year in prison for insurance fraud and was forced to repay $19,000.

He provides links to all the stories exposing the hate crimes as hoaxes.

The political left is always interested in lying in order to portray themselves as helpless victims, while normal, healthy, moral people are portrayed as evil, vindictive bigots. Famous cases like the Matthew Shepard murder and the Jamie Leigh Jones rape have been revealed to be misrepresented by the political left. The reason why these tactics work is because people on the political right still care about being good and just, and so they are easily bullied into acceptance of things we disagree with, like binge drinking and promiscuity. The hoaxes are always trumpeted loudly as fact by the liberal media. The retractions come months or years later, after the elections are done.

UPDATE: Linked by Blazing Cat Fur, who linked to this list of 32 hate crime hoaxes.

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