Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Peter J. Williams lectures on the historical reliability of the gospel narratives

Peter J. Williams

Peter J. Williams

Here’s the main lecture: (54 minutes)

And here’s the Q&A: (9 minutes)

About Peter Williams:

Peter J. Williams is the Warden (CEO) of Tyndale House and a member of the Faculty of Divinity in the University of Cambridge. He received his MA, MPhil and PhD, in the study of ancient languages related to the Bible from Cambridge University. After his PhD, he was on staff in the Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge University (1997–1998), and thereafter taught Hebrew and Old Testament there as Affiliated Lecturer in Hebrew and Aramaic and as Research Fellow in Old Testament at Tyndale House, Cambridge (1998–2003). From 2003 to 2007 he was on the faculty of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, where he became a Senior Lecturer in New Testament and Deputy Head of the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy. In July 2007 he became the youngest Warden in the history of Tyndale House. He also retains his position as an honorary Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at the University of Aberdeen.

Summary of the lecture:

  • What if the stories about Jesus are legendary?
  • were the gospels transmitted accurately?
  • were the gospels written in the same place as where the events happened?
  • do the gospel authors know the customs and locations where the events happened?
  • do the gospels use the right names for the time and place where the events took place?
  • do the gospels disambiguate people’s names depending on how common those names were?
  • how do the New Testament gospels compare to the later gnostic gospels?
  • how do the gospels refer to the main character? How non-Biblical sources refer to Jesus?
  • how does Jesus refer to himself in the gospels? do the later Christians refer to him that way?
  • how does Jesus teach? do later Christians teach the same way?
  • why didn’t Jesus say anything about early conflicts in the church (the Gentiles, church services)?
  • did the writers of the gospels know the places where the events took place?
  • how many places are named in the gospels? how about in the later gnostic gospels?
  • are the botanical details mentioned in the gospels accurate? how about the later gnostic gospels?

And here are the questions from the audience:

  • how what about the discrepancies in the resurrection narratives that Bart Ehrman is obsessed with?
  • what do you think of the new 2011 NIV translation (Peter is on the ESV translation committee)?
  • how did untrained, ordinary men produce complex, sophisticated documents like the gospels?
  • is oral tradition a strong enough bridge between the events and the writers who interviewed the eyewitnesses?
  • what does the name John mean?
  • why did the gospel writers wait so long before writing their gospels?
  • do you think that Matthew and Luke used a hypothetical source which historians call “Q”?
  • which gospel do critical historians trust the least and why?

I really enjoyed watching this lecture. He’s getting some of this material from Richard Bauckham’s awesome book “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”, so if you aren’t familiar with it, you can get an idea of what’s in it. Peter Williams is a lot of fun to listen to – an excellent speaker.

You can read an interview with Peter Williams here on Between Two Worlds.

And you can listen to the Peter Williams vs Bart Ehrman debate. That link contains a link to the audio of the debate as well as my snarky summary. It’s very snarky.

And Apologetics 315 also posted Peter Williams’ assessment of Bart Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus”.

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Group behind indictment of Governor Rick Perry got 500K donation from George Soros

Here’s an article from Commentary magazine, which talks about how Democrats are trying to smear Republicans with fake charges.

Excerpt:

On April 13, 2013, Rosemary Lehmberg was pulled over for dangerous driving. She was found with an open bottle of vodka in the car, which is against the law, and her blood-alcohol level was .239 percent. (The legal limit is .08 percent. As a rule of thumb, at .1 you’re happy, at .2 you’re drunk, at .3 you’re passed out, and at .4 you’re dead. In other words, to use the technical term, she was blotto.) Taken to the police station, she was abusive and uncooperative to the point of being put in handcuffs and leg irons. She pled guilty to DWI and was sentenced to 45 days in jail and a $4000 fine. She served 20 days. Her license was suspended for 180 days.

This sort of thing happens every night in every city in the country. What made this unusual was that Lehmberg is the district attorney of Travis County, Texas, which is the county where Austin, the state capital, is located. That gives the district attorney of Travis County a lot of power to investigate public corruption. Indeed she heads the state’s Public Corruption unit.

Governor Rick Perry, not unreasonably, thought she had disgraced herself and should resign her office. She refused. To force her out, he threatened to veto the appropriation for the Public Corruption unit and, when she stilled refused, vetoed it.

For this the governor was indicted by a special prosecutor on two felony counts that, in theory, could send him to jail for the rest of his life.

[...]This is about as blatantly a political indictment as can be imagined. Jonathan Chait, no fan of Rick Perry, calls it unbelievably ridiculous. Even David Axelrod called the indictment “pretty sketchy.” Indeed the blow back from left, right, and center is so intense that Perry may well be the first public official to actually gain political clout from being indicted.

So now, if a governor vetoes a bill, it’s life imprisonment. In Texas.

But who brought this charge? A shadowy group called “Texans for Public Justice”:

Sometimes it seems like there isn’t a single political issue that a Soros-funded group isn’t involved in. Texans for Public Justice, one of the groups behind Rick Perry’s indictment charges, is part of a “progressive” coalition that has received $500,000 from liberal billionaire George Soros.

[...]According to an Open Society Institute press release, OSI has given $500,000 to help form a coalition that “could change the way the progressive community engages public policy in Texas.” Besides Texans for Public Justice, this coalition includes Texans Together, the Sierra Club, Texas Legal Services, La Fe Policy Research and Education Center, Public Citizen, and the Center for Public Policy.

This kind of judicial persecution of conservative politicians seems to happen a lot in Texas, though.

Remember Tom Delay?

Former House majority leader Tom DeLay on Monday sharply criticized the local prosecutor’s office that indicted both him and more recently fellow Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry, calling it a “vendetta” and another example of the “criminalization of politics.”

In an interview with FoxNews.com, DeLay attacked nearly every aspect of the prosecution’s case against Perry — suggesting it was political retribution for the governor’s attempt to remove a county district attorney with a criminal record and a “conspiracy” likely traceable to Washington Democrats.

“There is no doubt [the case] is politically motivated,” the former House majority leader said. “Once again, the district attorney of Travis County presented a case, not unlike mine, that was very weak, if it was a case at all. … It’s a conspiracy to use the legal system to politicize politics.”

DeLay was indicted in 2005 by a Travis County grand jury for allegedly conspiring to break election laws several years earlier in a case that involved charges of money laundering.

He was convicted in January 2011 and sentenced to three years in prison. But he was allowed free on bail while appealing his conviction. The Texas Court of Appeals ruled in Sept. 2013 that the evidence in the case was “legally insufficient” to sustain the convictions and DeLay was formally acquitted.

It seems a slam dunk that Perry will be acquitted, too. But where does he go to get his reputation back before the 2016 election? Or is the legal system just there for leftists to use in order to criminalize people who disagree with them on policy?

Filed under: News, , , , , ,

If you want to annoy the left, then raise your children to be like Texas senator Ted Cruz

Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz

Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz

Here’s a profile in National Review of my one of my favorite senators.

Excerpt:

The party’s highest-profile Texans, George W. Bush and Rick Perry, tended to match inarticulateness with cowboy swagger and lend themselves to mockery as intellectual lightweights. Bush went to Yale and Harvard Business School, yet no one naturally thinks of him as an Ivy Leaguer. The two Lone Star State governors played into the Left’s stereotypes so nicely that if they didn’t exist, the New York Times editorial board would have had to invent them.

Cruz is different — a Princeton and Harvard man who not only matriculated at those fine institutions but excelled at them. Champion debater at Princeton. Magna cum laude graduate at Harvard. Supreme Court clerkship, on the way to Texas solicitor general and dozens of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Cruz is from the intellectual elite, but not of it, a tea-party conservative whose politics are considered gauche at best at the storied universities where he studied. He is, to borrow the words of the 2008 H.W. Brands biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt, a traitor to his class.

Democrats and liberal pundits would surely dislike Cruz no matter where he went to school, but his pedigree adds an element of shocked disbelief to the disdain. “Princeton and Harvard should be disgraced,” former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell exclaimed on MSNBC, as if graduating a constitutionalist conservative who rises to national prominence is a violation of the schools’ mission statements.

[...]In a Washington Post column a year ago, Dana Milbank noted Cruz’s schooling and concluded that his tea-party politics must be a put-on, that he is, underneath it all, an “intellectually curious, liberal-arts conservative.” Note the insulting assumption that an interest in books and ideas immunizes someone from a certain kind of conservative politics.

One of the Left’s deepest prejudices is that its opponents are stupid, and Cruz tramples on it. At hearings, Cruz has the prosecutorial instincts of a . . . Harvard-trained lawyer. Watching Attorney General Eric Holder try to fend off Cruz’s questioning on the administration’s drone policy a few months ago was like seeing a mouse cornered by a very large cat.

Cruz hasn’t played by the Senate rules that freshmen should initially be seen and not heard. In fact, he joined the upper chamber with all the subtlety of a SWAT team knocking down a drug suspect’s front door.

For people who care about such things — almost all of them are senators — this is an unforgivable offense. At another hearing, as Cruz says that the highest commitment of senators should be to the Constitution, another senator can be heard muttering that he doesn’t like being lectured. Chairman Pat Leahy (probably the mutterer) eventually cuts him off and informs him he hasn’t been in the Senate very long.

Cruz lacks all defensiveness about his positions, another source of annoyance to his opponents, who are used to donning the mantle of both intellectual and moral superiority.

And here’s a quick review of where Ted Cruz came from:

Rafael Cruz, the father of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, invigorated the crowd during tonight’s FreedomWorks Free the People event.

Describing his own personal journey escaping Cuba and working hard to build a life for himself in the U.S., the elder Cruz noted comparisons that he believes exist between Fidel Castro’s governance and President Barack Obama’s executive actions.

Upon rising to power, he said that Castro, like Obama, spoke about hope and change. While the message sounded good at the time, it didn’t take long for socialism to take root in his home country. And he paid the price.

For his part in the revolution — one that many originally assumed would yield a more vibrant country — Cruz was punished while in Cuba.

“I was in prison,” he said. “I was tortured, but by the grace of God I was able to leave Cuba on a student VISA and came to the greatest country on the face of the earth.”

Cruz described his efforts working as a dishwasher in America and paying his own way through the University of Texas. From there, he built a life for himself — one that was filled with experiences that caused him to greatly appreciate the country that had given him so much.

His plight in Cuba colored his American experience

“You can’t understand a loss of rights unless you’ve experienced it,” Cruz told TheBlaze following the speech.

His unique perspective leaves Cruz with the ability, he argues, to see the troubling signs surrounding socialism. Young people in America today, he told TheBlaze, take for granted the rights and privileges that the U.S. has afforded them.

Fascinating.

Now people always complain when I say that I am trying to find a wife with the background, education, experience and temperment to raise effective, influential children. I have a whole list of influential people I want to clone, in fact. I want a William Lane Craig, a Wayne Grudem, a Michael Licona, a Guillermo Gonzales, an Ann Gauger, a Jennifer Roback Morse, a Scott Klusendorf, a Mark Regnerus, and… a Ted Cruz. And I’ve saved the money to be able to get at least a few of those, too. The truth is that I had some of the experiences that Cruz’s father had, and if he can make a Ted Cruz, then so should I be able to. They have to come from somewhere!

Now of course it’s hard to guarantee outcomes when it comes to raising children, but there are some things you can prepare for. You can study things you hate that are hard, and save your money for Ph.D tuition. You can go to grad school yourself and publish research. You can look for a wife who shows the ability to nurture people so that they get better and rise higher. And maybe, you might just raise the next Ted Cruz. I think the old adage “if you aim at nothing, then you will surely hit it” is a good saying for marriage. If you are going to put hundreds of thousands of dollars and decades of your life into a marriage, then you should aim at something. You might hit it. You’re not just there to make another person feel good – you’re there to make the marriage serve God. Raising influential, effective children is one way of doing that. But it doesn’t happen by accident. And it isn’t necessarily going to be “fun”.

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Toyota moves thousands of jobs from socialist California to capitalist Texas

California is a liberal hell of regulations and high taxes. So, a story like this one from the ultra-leftist Los Angeles Times should come as no surprise. (H/T ECM)

Excerpt:

Toyota Motor Corp. plans to move large numbers of jobs from its sales and marketing headquarters in Torrance to suburban Dallas, according to a person familiar with the automaker’s plans.

The move, creating a new North American headquarters, would put management of Toyota’s U.S. business close to where it builds most cars for this market.

North American Chief Executive Jim Lentz is expected to brief employees Monday, said the person, who was not authorized to speak publicly. Toyota declined to detail its plans. About 5,300 people work at Toyota’s Torrance complex. It is unclear how many workers will be asked to move to Texas. The move is expected to take several years.

[T]oday, about 75% of the Toyota branded vehicles sold in the U.S. are built in America — many of them at plants in Texas, Mississippi and Kentucky.

Why is this happening? Here’s why:

Frank Scotto, Torrance’s mayor, said he had no warning of Toyota’s decision. He said he did know that the automaker planned a corporate announcement for Monday.

“When any major corporation is courted by another state, it’s very difficult to combat that,” Scotto said. “We don’t have the tools we need to keep major corporations here.”

The mayor said businesses bear higher costs in California for workers’ compensation and liability insurance, among other expenses.

“A company can easily see where it would benefit by relocating someplace else,” Scotto said.

Think that this is an exception? Think again:

Occidental Petroleum Corp. said in February that it was relocating from Los Angeles to Houston, making it one of around 60 companies that have moved to Texas since July 2012, according to Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Perry last month visited California to recruit companies. The group Americans for Economic Freedom also recently launched a $300,000 advertising campaign in which Perry contends 50 California companies have plans to expand or relocate in Texas because it offers a better business climate.

Like these other companies, Toyota could also save money in an environment of lower business taxes, real estate prices and cost of living.

[...]Toyota isn’t the first automaker to leave Southern California. In late 2005, Nissan announced it was moving its North American headquarters from Gardena to Franklin, Tenn., just outside of Nashville. About 550 employees left for Tennessee; an additional 750 left jobs at Nissan to stay in Southern California.

“The costs of doing business in Southern California are much higher than the costs of doing business in Tennessee,” Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said at the time. He cited cheaper real estate and lower business taxes as key reasons for the move.

I know a lot of people like to write books about how bad companies like Wal-Mart and Exxon Mobil are. Young people have been trained to believe that we should raise corporate taxes, raise the minimum wage and burden businesses with other costs, like health coverage for condoms. That’s what young people learn in school from government employees. But in the real world, companies respond to incentives.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

Appeals court upholds Texas’ tough pro-life laws

From Texas Right to Life. (H/T Dad)

Excerpt:

A panel of three judges in the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit released its ruling upholding HB2, Texas’ Pro-Life law, which took full effect in October of last year.  The opinion affirms the constitutionality of the legislation passed last summer and rejects Planned Parenthood’s argument that HB2 places an “undue burden” upon abortionists, abortion facilities, and women seeking abortion.

The court upheld sections of the law that require abortionists hold admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, and that the dangerous RU-486 abortion drug be administered according to FDA procedure. The judges wrote,

“The district court held that parts of both provisions were unconstitutional and granted, in substantial part, the requested injunctive relief.  A motions panel of this court granted a stay pending appeal, and the Supreme Court upheld the stay.  We conclude that both of the challenged provisions are constitutional and, therefore, reverse and render judgment, with one exception, for the State.”

There is a minor caveat to the ruling, abortionists who have applied for admitting privileges prior to the law going into effect, but have not yet received a reply from local hospitals may continue to commit abortions until their applications for privileges are officially denied.

The court asserted that higher standards for an abortionist are, in fact, justified,

“During these proceedings, Planned Parenthood conceded that at least 210 women in Texas annually must be hospitalized after seeking an abortion.  Witnesses on both sides further testified that some of the women who are hospitalized after an abortion have complications that require an Ob/Gyn specialist’s treatment.”

This is the third time recently that this Court of Appeals has upheld Pro-Life policies attacked by abortion advocates.  The same court upheld Texas’ 2011 Sonogram Law and a policy that kept the abortion business Planned Parenthood out of the taxpayer-funded Women’s Health Program.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has my absolute favorite judge, Edith Hollan Jones. If I were President, that’s who I would choose, and then Janice Rogers Brown if I had two picks. Well, it might not ever happen, but a guy can dream… about Supreme Court picks.

At the beginning of the month, there was a story on Life News about how these laws are closing abortion clinics.

Excerpt:

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that the last two abortion clinics outside of big Texas cities will close Thursday because they can’t meet the restrictions placed on facilities under the state’s new abortion law.

Whole Woman’s Health in Beaumont and McAllen will close after providing abortions in the areas for a decade. Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health, which operated five abortion clinics before the law went into effect, said the provision requiring physicians to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic was proving the most problematic.

Miller said hospitals near her McAllen clinic refused to grant her physicians’ applications for privileges. Some hospitals in the area require their privileged physicians to live nearby. Others require a current physician to co-sign applications for privileges, which many are unwilling to do for fear of being targeted or stigmatized.

In Beaumont, one 75-year-old physician secured privileges, but a second one could not, Miller said.

In addition to that Texas news, there is also a story this morning from National Right to Life about the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has allowed Kansas to suspending taxpayer-funding of Planned Parenthood pending resolution of a court challenge. (H/T J.W. Wartick tweet) So there is more good news!

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

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