Pilates: Different Caricatures of Pontius

Easter’s just around the corner, so it’s time to commence with the several-hour long discourse on the nature of Pontius Pilate. What? You don’t do that on an annual basis? What better time to start the tradition than during your Easter video chats! Pontius Pilate’s character was the basis for a mold, an archetype which sticks in modern literature. He was the man who found Jesus to be an innocent man, but he loved popular praise too much (or, conversely, he was too weak to fight the will of the mob) to spare Jesus from crucifixion. Over the years, Pontius … Continue reading “Pilates: Different Caricatures of Pontius”

Eusebian Canons

Ever wondered what Eusebian Canons are? Neither did I, until I tried (and failed) to navigate a manuscript with them! That said, the Eusebian Canons are actually a pretty nifty work of ancient biblical scholarship. Here you can read about the Eusebian Canons found in the Herzog August Bibliothek, MS Cod. Guelf. 84.3 Aug. 2°. And here’s a peek at the manuscript:

Youth Groups

I will be in a new house come Sunday, so my workload for the past few weeks has been full. I am quite tired, and perhaps a little grumpy. Still, the process of moving has retrieved several memories of my years at my college’s Christian youth ministries. I figured I’d reflect on those times and my views on college ministry as a whole. The common piece of advice I hear from youth group leaders is to find a group you particularly like and to stick with it. This might be perhaps due to my own personal habits, but I often … Continue reading “Youth Groups”

Addressing the Allowance of Evil

How can a good God allow evil? Here is a place where philosophy shifts its focus to the practical. How do we make sense of the suffering all around us, and is the suffering consistent with the existence of a good God? The problem of evil is that if God is all-knowing, all-powerful and all good, as envisioned by classical theism, then how did he create a world with so many qualities of misery? The argument from evil grows beyond that to claim that such a God with the presence of evil is irreconcilable and therefore, the existence of evil … Continue reading “Addressing the Allowance of Evil”

Parashat Mishpatim

This is adapted from a drash Z. S. will read this weekend at Devar Emet Messianic Congregation. A drash is a brief takeaway from the weekly cycle of texts. This Week’s Readings: Torah: Exodus 21:1-24:18, 30:11-16, Numbers 28:9-15 Haftarah: 2 Kings 12:1-17 Brit Chadashah: Matthew 22:15-22, 34-40 From time to time, I’ll chat about politics with someone and they’ll say “Oh, I am sure so-and-so will win.” Sometimes I’m skeptical if they’re really so sure. I like to test their purported conviction by asking them if they would bet money on the matter. More often than not, they back out of … Continue reading “Parashat Mishpatim”

The One About Demon Possessions

All right, everybody. It’s time to go off the deep end. We’re talking about demon possession today. Before I continue, it’s important to address the caveat: how, if I don’t believe in magic, do I believe in demon possession? To that, I cite the Bible, which references magicians and magic but not the process, the extent, or the scale of the magic. The magicians described in the Bible are frequently inept, and those who are “successful” do so to entertain an audience. If you replace the so-called magic with the simple parlor tricks of a cheap Vegas act, it would … Continue reading “The One About Demon Possessions”

Christian Midrash: An Adventure in the Fusion of Theological Methodology

Given my staple here as a writer who submits to and defends the authority of the Catholic Church, I am taking a bit of a step back in these three articles, where I will explore some random theological ideas. The articles are based on a paper I wrote in college in which I hope to take what good has come from Midrashic texts and blend it with Christianity. In this article I will first explain what Midrash is and how Christian Midrash can exist. In the next article I will go into what I see to be a form of … Continue reading “Christian Midrash: An Adventure in the Fusion of Theological Methodology”

Parashat Vaera

This is adapted from a drash Z. S. will read this weekend at Devar Emet Messianic Congregation. A drash is a brief takeaway from the weekly cycle of texts. Torah: Exodus 6:2-9:35 Haftarah: Ezekiel 28:25-29:21 Brit Chadashah: Revelation 15-16 Do you remember the early days of the Coronavirus? I remember studying Va’era last year, in late January, and thinking, “this virus in China might be kind of similar to the plagues we’re reading about.” Well, here we are, again reading the same parashah a year later with some hindsight. I hope this week’s parashah can give us some perspective on … Continue reading “Parashat Vaera”

Parashat Miketz

Joseph Dines with his Brothers by Yoram Raanan

This is adapted from a drash Z. S. will read this weekend at Devar Emet Messianic Congregation. A drash is a brief takeaway from the weekly cycle of texts, or the weekly the parashah. “G-d” is spelled with a dash out of respect for Jewish custom. Parashah Readings: Torah: Genesis 41:1-44:17 Haftarah (taken from the prophets): 1 Kings 3:24-28 Brit Chadashah (New Testament): Acts 7:54-60 “Sprezzatura,” “sangfroid,” “equanimity”: these are fancy words used to describe the ability of a courtier to remain casual and completely unphased by the petty worries and excitements of his peers. (A more familiar term might … Continue reading “Parashat Miketz”