Thursday, October 28, 2010

Modern Art on Campus

I can related to and appreciate pretty and meaningful art. In fact, on occasion I am known to even appreciate nice looking modern art. But not all art is equal. There is a whole popular category of poor excuses for art. Yes, I make value judgements about art. Just because you personally find this black blotch or bleeding shape meaningful doesn't mean it is anything but an ugly piece of junk to me.

A number of universities in NSW enjoy spending excessive amounts of cash they do not have on ridiculous pieces of art. At Macquarie University many would say the work exclusively falls into the second category, with features such as these:
This is one of the better pieces on campus. While no one is quite sure what it is, suggestions including "knotted whale intestines" have been put forward to explain the phenomenon.
The pink building wasn't enough - what we really needed were...those things.

This piece is officially known as "Mangroves." And no, the picture is not deceiving, it is just some metal pipes stuck on a wall with a bit of paint.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Epistolary Conversations: Opening the letter of Classical and Late Antiquity (Symposium)

Epistolary Conversations: Opening the letter of Classical and Late Antiquity
symposium of historians, papyrologists and linguists for a day of discussing these and other issues shaping our understanding of the ancient letter. 

Speakers include: Professor Pauline Allen, Dr Malcolm Choat, Dr Geoffrey Dunn, Dr Trevor Evans, Assoc. Prof. Andrew Gillett, Dr Stephen Lake and Dr Bronwen Neil.

Date: Monday 15 November 2010. 9.30am to 5.30pm

Venue:  Macquarie University Ancient History Documentary Research Centre, Building W6A, Floor 3, Western End.

All welcome. There is no charge for attendance, but please RSVP for catering purposes.
Enquiries and RSVP to:

Long version.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Daily Wisdom

In addition to being an excellent collection of Manichaean documentary and literary documents, Corpus Fontium Manichaeorum (Brepols, 2006) also makes a sturdy bench for writing up birthday cards while on the move.
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone on 3

0/10 Bibliobloggers Share My Music Taste

*Statistics may not be based on any data (like that is the first time).

The most common sorts of songs on my playlist would best be described using the terms "Euro" or "dance"/"Electro"/"Trance". The origins of this love, nay, lust, are debatable. It may be my European side, it may be my hyper persona or it may be a consequence of my simple non-existence as a present figure. But origins aside, a selection of my music (which, surely, are on par with Jim West's  total depravity) include:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Myth of Ancient Greece

The Onion has an amazing piece on the myth of ancient Greece:
WASHINGTON—A group of leading historians held a press conference Monday at the National Geographic Society to announce they had "entirely fabricated" ancient Greece, a culture long thought to be the intellectual basis of Western civilization.

The group acknowledged that the idea of a sophisticated, flourishing society existing in Greece more than two millennia ago was a complete fiction created by a team of some two dozen historians, anthropologists, and classicists who worked nonstop between 1971 and 1974 to forge "Greek" documents and artifacts.
And to say I thought it was only Jesus, Nazareth and the Dead Sea Scrolls that were the result of mythmaking.

Ht: Exploring Our Matrix: Mythicism Vindicated

Monday, October 4, 2010

Identifcation in the Libelli

In the ancient world I would imagine identifying people in formal documentation to be a very difficult task. There was no photo identification, specific addresses and after the Edict of Caracalla many couldn't resist taking the nomen Aurelius. An example of identifying individuals in the ancient world can be found in the various surviving papyri libelli. The libelli (sing. libellus) were petitions issued in the time of Decius (250), certifying an individual's loyalty to pagan religion. At its core, it involved an attested certification that the individual had offered sacrifice to the gods.

P. Wisc. 2.87 (SB 3.6826)

To those appointed in Narmouthis to oversee the sacrifices. From Aurelius Aunes son of Silvanus of the village of Narmouthis. I have always been constant in sacrificing to the gods, and now too, in your presence, I have offered sacrifice in accordance with the orders, and I have poured a libtation, and I have eaten of the sacrificial offerings. I ask you to certify this below. May you proper. I, Aunes, aged about 19 with a scar on my right elbow.
I, Aurelius Sarapodorus, have certified.
I, Aurelius Patos, have certified.
I, Aurelius ...mon, have certified.
I, Aurelius [Sera?]pion, have certified.
I, Aurelius...onius, have certified.
I, Aurelius Itonin, have certified.
The year one of the Emperor Caesar Gaius Messius Quintus Traianus Decius Pius Felix Augustus. Pauni 10.

This libellus makes the point. We have the common familial references, the village, we have a heap of Aureliuses and we have Decius' super long name. What I like is the reference to the "scar on my right elbow" as identification. In P.Lips. 2.152 the sacrifice is certified by "Aurelios Serenus, about 60 years old with a scar on his left leg"; Aurelius Diogenes "aged 72 years, with a scar on his right eyebrow" was certified in W. Chr. 124. I wonder how we today would like to be identified by our scars?

An interesting identification is that of "Aurelia Demos, fatherless, daughter of Helen and wife of Aurelius Irenaeus."(P.Ryld. 1.12.) Hath the virgin conceived?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I hope this is a joke

Jim West reports the terrible news that actor George Clooney is officially a fool. Wire Service Canada writes:
In a film written and directed by Clooney, he claims that the Roman Catholic Church and the figurehead of Jesus were knowing inventions of the Roman government in the first century B.C.E., part of a hoax designed to produce a passive, orderly society.
 While the theory itself is ridiculous and unfounded, this statement by the journalist wins the prize:
While there is much historical evidence to support Clooney’s claims, his motives for revealing such potentially explosive secrets are being called into question.
Where is this historical evidence? I ask this having read every major source on the late Roman Republic and early Christian history.

On further investigation, I am suspecting it is made up. The individual who submitted the article to Newswire has repeated the same rubbish history minus references to Clooney here and here. She appears to be a conspiracy theorist at best although fellow crazies theorists  call her "an independant information-sciences researcher."

Ridiculous 10:10 Ads

This is simply ridiculous. Killing off kids in ads because they don't join in with the 10:10 campaign?

In related news

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ben Witherington Videos

While Professor Ben Witherington III was downunder a few months back, he was interviewed by the guys at the Centre for Public Christianity. Two videos have been shared so far and I believe there are a few more to come.

Jesus and Wisdom from CPX on Vimeo.

If you have problems watching them on Vimeo they are also available on Youtube.

Interview with Dunn

John Byron over at The Biblical World has shared an interview with James D.G. Dunn.

September Rankings

For all those interested, the September Biblioblog rankings are up. My lack of blogging has dropped me from around 25-26 to 40. I didn't deserve to be that high anyway ;)