gwynhefar: (Default)
"But let us remember that at the center of every religion is compassion, love, and forgiveness and at the periphery of every religious tradition is violence, cruelty, and war. Our vocation is to keep the periphery as far from the center as possible, to keep the hijackers of extremism at bay."

--Ira Zepp, Pedagogy of the Heart
gwynhefar: (zomg!)
Ok, so I have never viewed the Discovery channel or their website as a citeable source by any stretch of the imagination, but I did credit them with generally trying to give accurate facts, even if the delivery were slanted in favour of one theory or another. However, this article has completely blown any faith I may have had in their credibility.

The article describes a bowl recently found and dated to between the 2nd century BC/BCE and the 1st century AD/CE as the "earliest reference to Christ". The bowl apparently carries a Greek inscription which the article transliterated as "DIA CHRSTOU O GOISTAIS" and translated as meaning either, "by Christ the magician" or "the magician by Christ." A photograph of the bowl is provided for our edification.

Let's look at that, shall we?

Now, I don't read Greek, but I *do* know my Greek letters. Bear with me a moment here. Clearly visible in the picture is the "DIA CHRSTOU" part of the inscription. Let's take a look. For those of you who don't know the Greek letters, allow me to 'spell' it out for you:

Δ = capital D
ι = lowercase i
α = lowercase a (it's a little distorted here, but hey, they're carving on clay)
Χ = capital CH (in Greek, the hard 'Ch' sound as in 'Christ' is one letter)
ρ = lowercase r (yes, I know it looks like a 'p'. It's an 'r')
σ = lowercase s (oftentimes, like here, truncated so it looks more like a 'c')
τ = lowercase t
ο = lowercase o (short o, not long o)
υ = lowercase u (again, looks like a 'v', it's actually a 'u')

D-i-a CH-r-s-t-o-u yes? But wait! you say. You're missing something. There's an extra letter in there, nice and clear, between the ρ and the σ. Why, so there is! And look, it's η

η = lowercase e. Yes, 'e', not 'i'. Remember, 'i' is ι It's actually a pretty clear inscription. No amount of hemming and hawing is going to make that η a ι; make that 'e' an 'i'.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, our ever-helpful Oxford English Dictionary gives the root word (helpfully spelled out in both English and Greek) as Χριστος where ς is the lowercase 's' when it comes at the end of the word. In other words, "CH-r-i-s-t-o-s" The "-ou" instead of the "-os" in the inscription makes the noun possessive.

So, summing up, the bowl does *not* say "DIA CHRISTOU O GOISTAIS". It doesn't even say "DIA CHRSTOU O GOISTAIS" (note how the article conveniently omits the troublesome vowel entirely in its transcription). It says "DIA CHRESTOU O GOISTAIS". "Chrestou" ≠ 'Christ,' folks

Only hint in the whole article that this whole "earliest reference to Christ" thing might not be all it's cracked up to be? One sentence, buried on the second page: "Bert Smith, a professor of classical archaeology and art at Oxford University, suggests the engraving might be a dedication, or present, made by a certain 'Chrestos' belonging to a possible religious association called Ogoistais."

Yeah, way to show the unbiased scholarship, guys.


Apr. 22nd, 2008 01:34 pm
gwynhefar: (Default)
Well this is a surprise:

You know the Bible 91%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

Really, this quiz is worth taking just for the humour value of the multiple choice answers alone: Under "What did God create on the third day", "myspace" is an option. I would like to point out however that I am quite positive I did so well primarily through familiarity with literary allusions to the Bible, rather than familiarity with the Bible itself.
gwynhefar: (Default)
How is it that I'm only now reading about this. After randomly browsing the web. Why wasn't there some big commotion when it first came out?

These people are claiming to have found the tomb of Jesus' immediate family, including the bones of Jesus, his mother Mary, Mary the Master (who they have tentatively identified as Mary Magdalene), and one inscribed "Judah, son of Jesus" whom DNA evidence suggests was also the son of Mary the Master (lending support to the theory that Mary Magdalene was Jesus' wife).

Really fascinating stuff.
gwynhefar: (pagan)
This is a great clip about Religious Freedom in America. Far too many people out there just don't get it.
gwynhefar: (duckling)
Wow! Thanks to everyone for the many suggestions on what to do for my poor cracked feet. I'm sure I can get something to work from that lot.

I had a really hard time getting up this morning. Hit the snooze button way too many times. And despite my morning chai, I'm still feeling quite tired. This is going to be a day of hiding in my cubicle catching up on reading, I know.

On the plus side, I know have one of those space-age ant farms from in my office. They've just started tunnelling, so it's still pretty basic, but it should prove interesting once they begin connecting the tunnels.

I keep meaning to have important philosophical things to say here, but I never actually get around to writing them down. I should get better at that. Meanwhile I went to a Beltaine ritual at church last night (I love being able to say that). It was really very nice. The preistess is currently on a Wicked kick, so she incorporated some of the themes from the play into the ritual, which was quite interesting. I really need to see that some time. Of course I need to read the book first.

Right now I'm reading Angels and Demons. I started to pick up The Davinci Code, but in the first few chapters he kept saying things like "Because of the events of last year, Langdon felt . . ." and "After the events at the Vatican, Robert firmly believed . . ." etc. and I got tired of not knowing what the events of last year were. So I put it down and got the first book. The writing style isn't very sophisticated, but it's a quick read, and I'm enjoying the storyline so far.

And yes, I know this is a rambling post, but I'm in that mood today.
gwynhefar: (pagan)
Haven't decided what I'm going to do to celebrate yet. But I'm doing something. Oh yes.
gwynhefar: (Default)
"God is in slums and the cardboard boxes where the poor play house; God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives; God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war; God is in the debris of wasted opportunities and lives – and God is with us . . . if we are with them."
gwynhefar: (goddess)
"And if it frightens and torments you to think of childhood and of the simplicity and silence that accompanies it, because you can no longer believe in God, who appears in it everywhere, then ask yourself, dear Mr. Kappus, whether you have really lost God. Isn't it much truer to say that you have never possessed him? For when could that have been? Do you think that a child can hold him, him whom grown men bear only with great effort and whose weight crushes the old? Do you suppose that someone who really has him could lose him like a little stone? Or don't you think that someone who once had him could only be lost by him? -- But if you realize that he did not exist in your childhood, and did not exist previously, if you suspect that Christ was deluded by his yearning and Muhammad deceived by his pride -- and if you are terrified to feel that even now he does not exist, even at this moment when we are talking about him -- what justifies you then, if he never existed, in missing him like someone who has passed away and in searching for him as though he were lost?

Why don't you think of him as the one who is coming, who has been approaching from all eternity, the one who will someday arrive, the ultimate fruit of a tree whose leaves we are? What keeps you from projecting his birth into the ages that are coming into existence, and living your life as a painful and lovely day in the history of a great pregnancy? Don't you see how everything that happens is again and again a beginning, and couldn't it be His beginning, since, in itself, starting is always so beautiful? If he is the most perfect one, must not what is less perfect precede him, so that he can choose himself out of fullness and superabundance? -- Must no he be the last one, so that he can include everything in himself, and what meaning would we have if he whom we are longing for has already existed?

As bees gather honey, so we collect what is sweetest out of all things and build Him. Even with the trivial, with the insignificant (as long as it is done out of love) we begin, with work and with the repose that comes afterward, with a silence or with a small solitary joy, with everything that we do alone, without anyone to join or help us, we start Him whom we will not live to see, just as our ancestors could not live to see us. And yet they, who passed away long ago, still exist in us, as predisposition, as burden upon our fate, as murmuring blood, and as gesture that rises up from the depths of time.

Is there anything that can deprive you of the hope that in this way you will someday exist in Him, who is the farthest, the outermost limit?

Dear Mr. Kappus, celebrate Christmas in this devout feeling, that perhaps He needs this very anguish of yours in order to begin; these very days of your transition are perhaps the time when everything in you is working at Him, as you once worked at Him in your childhood, breathlessly. Be patient and without bitterness, and realize that the least we can do is to make coming into existence no more difficult for Him than the earth does for the spring when it wants to come.

And be glad and confident."

-- Rainer Maria Rilke
gwynhefar: (Default)
But the night is Hallowe'en, lady,
and the morn is Hallowday

I spent most of the weekend in bed sick, but it turned out not to have been worse than a bad cold. I had a fever, which is really what made me feel so sick, but nothing else worse than congestion and coughing. I'm back at work today, dressed up as a pirate (I'm one of the only people who dressed up, but ah well, I'm used to being the odd one). I'm leaving early to get started on my Samhain celebrations, but I'll be taking a break this afternoon to take Robin and Siobhán into the vet. Robin has a history of urinary tract problems, so I figure he's the best bet for the problems I've been having. And Siobhán is due for her yearly shots.

I also have to get some candy on the way home, since I might actually have trick-or-treaters this year. Otherwise all I have to worry about is staying awake long enough to reach midnight. Among other things I'm doing my Druid initiation ritual tonight.

Happy Samhain to you all.


Oct. 26th, 2005 12:05 pm
gwynhefar: (pagan)
Ok, so I got stalled for awhile, but I finally went ahead and officially joined the AODA (Ancient Order of Druids in America). I'm going to perform the candidate initiation just after midnight on Nov 1st, to take advantage of the New Year energies. This also means I'll finally be posting to [ profile] gwyn_druidry, my druid journal (I might even go ahead and make it a paid account, so I can futz with the layout and make it all pretty and druid-like). It's friends-only, so if you want to follow along, comment to be added. I think I'm settled enough now to put some real effort into it this time, and I'm really quite excited.


Oct. 18th, 2005 01:18 pm
gwynhefar: (Moon fairy)

You fit in with:

Your ideals are mostly spiritual, but in an individualistic way. While spirituality is very important in your life, organized religion itself may not be for you. It is best for you to seek these things on your own terms.

60% spiritual.
80% reason-oriented.

Take this quiz at
gwynhefar: (DW Oooh Shiny)
Oh gods. This is perfect! Intelligent Design Queer Eye for the Straight Guy style!
gwynhefar: (Default)
I had Vietnamese seafood and rice noodle soup for lunch today. It was yummy. There is enough left for dinner some time this week -- not tonight, because that's just too much squid for one day.

At some point either tonight or tomorrow night I need to clean the kitchen and bathroom and vacuum so that my apartment will look nice for the Branches meeting on Wednesday night. Branches is the UU version of what they call small group ministry -- basically a bunch of people who get together and talk about their lives and their spiritual journey. Hopefully it will turn out well. I'm hosting it this week because the lady that would normally host it has displaced New Orleanseans living with her.
gwynhefar: (Default)
Ok, so you know how whenever something horrible happens in the US, the bible-thumpers are always coming up with some Bible verse that eerily matches the incident and use it as proof that it was God punishing us liberal sinners?

Well how about this one:

When I looked for good, then evil came;
And when I waited for light, there came darkness.
My heart is troubled, and resteth not;
Days of affliction are come upon me.
I go mourning without the sun:
I stand in the assembly, and cry for help.
I am a brother to jackals,
And a companion to ostriches.
My skin is black, and falleth from me,
And my bones are burned with heat.
Therefore is my harp turned to mourning,
And my pipe into the voice of them that weep.

Job 30: 26-31

Sounds like the people of New Orleans to me. I'll leave you to guess who the jackals and ostriches are.
gwynhefar: (Default)
Down by the Sally Gardens my love and I did meet
She passed the Sally Gardens with little snow-white feet
She bid me take love easy as the leaves grow on the tree
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree

In the field down by the river my love and I did stand
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand
She bid me take life easy as the grass grows on the weirs
But I was young and foolish, and now I'm full of tears.

Hope you all had a good Lammas/Lughnasadh!


Jun. 26th, 2005 06:00 pm
gwynhefar: (Default)
Let's see.

Just got back from picking blueberries with a bunch of UU people. That was fun. I now have fresh blueberries enough to last the whole summer or longer. Must freeze some. Got organic corn too. Nice little farm about 30 miles outside of Baton Rouge. I may have to go back on my own some time.

The service today was in celebration of Pride week, and was really very nicely done. The idea of being open and accepted in a church setting of all places is both foreign and refreshing to me.

Of course, now I'm just bored.

I accomplished stuff yesterday. I finished a novel, unpacked 4 boxes of books, watched a movie and two episodes of Dead Like Me from Netflix (which I'm rapidly becoming addicted to), and baked a loaf of cranberry bread.

Now I'm bored. I don't want to watch any more Dead Like Me, or any of the old Doctor Who episodes I have, or any of the anime I have still on my list to watch. I don't really want to read anything right now, even though I'm still only halfway through Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, not to mention almost finished Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and just started Herodotus's account of Egypt. None of the above really appeal at the moment. I don't want to play a computer game. I'm too lazy to cook dinner -- might just munch on cranberry bread or possibly order pizza. I'd really like to take a nap (berry picking in the hot sun is more tiring than you'd think) but if I do, I'll never get to sleep tonight and I don't really want to be a zombie all day tomorrow, particularly considering tomorrow is my day to work late (only until 5, but still).

Grr. Boredom sucks.
gwynhefar: (Default)
Happy Solstice to all who celebrate such. The UU church is having a Solstice celebration tonight, so I'm planning to go. I'll also get to meet Rich there - the friend of a fellow THer with whom I've been IMing somewhat since I found out I was going to move here. It'll be nice to have someone I can call for coffee.

My co-workers are extremely friendly and very helpful, but I've only been here 4 days so far so I haven't gotten a chance to see if any of them are likely to become the kind of people I'd hang out with outside of work or not.

After I went to all the trouble of trying to find a mechanic to look at my transmission, the car has suddenly been on its best behaviour and neither I nor the mechanic could get it to act up like it had been doing. Automatic gear shifting nice and smooth even at high speeds over the last couple of days. The machanic did say that the fluid was a little lower than it should be -- not enough to make a big difference, but he went ahead and filled it up anyway. I guess I'll just keep an eye on it and play it by ear. It'd be nice if the whole problem turned out to be not serious and somehow self-correcting. But I don't want to get my hopes up too much.

And of course sometime in while I was at work yesterday the windshield developed a crack. It's in the lower driver side corner and about 5 inches long currently, although it's pointed so that when it spreads, it will do so diagonally right through the driver's side main view. And when I was looking online to see what LA law said about windshield cracks (to find out how long I could let it go before I'd be in violation) I found a statute stating that all vehicles registered in the state had to display a current inspection sticker. Nice of them to tell me that. SC didn't have an inspection requirement, and it certainly didn't say anything on the OMV website for new residents about requiring an inspection. Nor did anyone mention anything about it when I got my license and tags.

So now I have to go get the windshield replaced, and then find some time to get my car inspected and pray that it passes -- it *is* an old car and I have no idea if the emissions are up to snuff. If I'd known about the inspection thing I could have gotten it done last week while I was off.

Anyway. Busy, busy, busy. Must go back to work now.
gwynhefar: (Default)
So I went to this morning's service at the UU Church in Baton Rouge. It was wonderful. Everyone was incredibly friendly and several people went out of their way to draw me into conversations. The service itself was quite nice. There were two specific moments when I knew I was in the right place -- when they included a Tibetan chant in the service, and when I noticed two (cute) women in front of me holding hand and no one blinked an eyelash at them. And then there was a lunch thing afterwards where I met even more people and had some quite interesting discussions. And boy was it wonderful to get out of this apartment and socialise, even if it was just for a little while. There was another young couple who were attending their first service as well, so we sort of bonded over our mutual newness. I don't think I'm going to have difficulty making friends in this group.


gwynhefar: (Default)

August 2014

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