Laura Geggel reports: During medieval times, bookmakers fashioned the pages and cover of a rare copy of the Gospel of Luke out of five different types of animals: calves, two species of deer, sheep and goat, according to new research.
In addition, one more type of animal left its mark on the cover of this 12th-century book: Beetle larvae likely chewed holes into the leather binding, the researchers said.
Now, researchers are learning unexpected secrets about the manuscript by noninvasively testing the proteins and DNA on the book’s pages, the researchers told Live Science.
Rare books — such as this copy of the Gospel of Luke — are difficult to study because they’re fragile, prompting many librarians to bar any research that would harm such manuscripts or their pages.
This rule is all too familiar to Matthew Collins, a biochemist at both the University of York in the United Kingdom and the University of Copenhagen. He wanted to sample parchments — documents made from animal skins — as a way to determine how people have managed livestock throughout history.
When Collins and Sarah Fiddyment, a postdoctoral fellow of archaeology at the University of York, approached librarians at the University of York’s Borthwick Institute for Archives, “we were told that we would not be allowed to physically sample any of the parchment documents, as they are too valuable as cultural-heritage objects,” Fiddyment told Live Science.
But Fiddyment didn’t give up. She spent several months learning how librarians conserve rare parchments, and, surprisingly, found a new method that allows scientists to study these specimens without disturbing them — one that involves an eraser.
Typically, librarians “dry clean” parchments by gently rubbing a polyvinyl chloride eraser against them. This technique pulls fibers off the page, and the resulting debris is usually thrown away.
But Fiddyment realized this debris held valuable clues about the book. By isolating proteins and other biological fragments within the debris, and examining them with a mass spectrometer — an instrument that identifies different compounds by their masses — researchers could learn all kinds of information about the manuscripts, she found.
“This was Sarah’s brilliant idea,” Collins told Live Science in an email. “Oddly enough, I think we relished the challenge.”
It wasn’t long before Fiddyment put this technique into action. A historian bought the aforementioned Gospel of Luke at a 2009 Southeby’s auction. An analysis of its “prickly” style of script indicated that scribes at St. Augustine’s Abbey in Canterbury, in the United Kingdom, created it around A.D. 1120, Bruce Barker-Benfield, the curator of manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, told the journal Science.
To learn more about the gospel, the historian contacted Collins. Using Fiddyment’s method, Collins and his colleagues learned that the book’s white leather cover came from the skin of a roe deer— a common species in the United Kingdom. The book’s strap came from a larger deer species — either a native red deer or a fallow deer, an invasive species likely brought from continental Europe after the Normans invaded in 1066. Read the rest of this entry »
Now That Our False ‘Love, Mutual Respect, Equality’ Argument Has Achieved its Purpose, Let’s Dump it and Unveil Our True AgendaPosted: June 28, 2015
AWR Hawkins writes: When the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that every state must recognize same sex marriages, they used a basis for judgement that will not easily stop at same sex marriage. In fact, it is a basis for judgement that should offer itself to national reciprocity of concealed carry permits and permit holders.
The SCOTUS legalized same sex marriage by finding a right which Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg , Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen G. Breyer, and Elena Kagan ruled as beyond a state-by-state prerogative via the 14th Amendment.
Crucial in this ruling is the fact that same sex marriage–now recognized by the SCOTUS–is not the only right the 14th Amendment shields from state-by-state prerogative and/or recognition.
Under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, no State shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The fundamental liberties protected by this Clause include most of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights.
Samuel Moyn writes: A generation ago the political philosopher Larry Siedentop published an essay called “Two Liberal Traditions,” its title a nod to his teacher Isaiah Berlin’s celebrated lecture “Two Concepts of Liberty.” An American, Siedentop had traveled to the University of Oxford in the 1950s to study under the great Cold War liberal, and later he taught there for decades.
“How, against its original purposes, was the Gospel’s message brought down to earth?”
In his still mandatory essay, Siedentop persuasively argues that Anglo-American liberalism has never been the sole version of the tradition. There is also, Siedentop contends, a characteristically French approach, more historicist and sociological than conceptual and normative in making the case for modern liberty. Great nineteenth-century French thinkers such as Benjamin Constant, François Guizot, and Alexis de Tocqueville generally cast liberal values such as individual freedom as complex social achievements won over long periods, to be treasured and fostered precisely because they reflect collective advancement, not merely moral truth.
“There was a time before the individual, and Siedentop spends his first few chapters dwelling on it: the ancient world, in which individuals were wholly subordinated to family structures. No matter that admirers from the Renaissance and Enlightenment appealed to the classical past in order to attack Christian oppression, Siedentop says: they ignored the fact that no ancient society embraced the value of individual freedom.”
This line of thought suggests that history and experience are central to the making of liberal values and not simply the storehouses of wisdom for conservatives, better known for appealing to the past. Unlike their Anglo-American counterparts from Thomas Hobbes to John Rawls, Frenchmen did not rely on the thought experiment of the social contract to motivate allegiance to liberal norms. Thus their approach, as Siedentop describes it, is an indispensable counterpart to the usual focus in our own liberal tradition, which prizes normative justification rather than a story about how we came to defend liberal values, through what institutions and practices.
[Check out Larry Siedentop’s book “Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism” at Amazon]
Of course, a lot turns on how believable the narrative is. In his new book Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism, Siedentop tries his own hand at telling how modern freedom came about. Channeling the project of the French tradition, he leans heavily on the almost-forgotten Guizot, the political theorist and government minister whose History of Civilization in Europe (1828) Siedentop in effect revives and updates. (If readers have any recollection of Guizot, it is probably because in the opening lines of The Communist Manifesto Karl Marx denounces him as a leading statesman of a conservative entente that had brought stability but not justice to post-Napoleonic Europe.)
There are a few powerful components to Siedentop’s rehabilitation of the French tradition. The most important follows that tradition’s most promising move, which is to treat modern individualism as a historical product rather than a natural fact. There was a time before the individual, and Siedentop spends his first few chapters dwelling on it: the ancient world, in which individuals were wholly subordinated to family structures. No matter that admirers from the Renaissance and Enlightenment appealed to the classical past in order to attack Christian oppression, Siedentop says: they ignored the fact that no ancient society embraced the value of individual freedom. “They failed to notice,” Siedentop comments mordantly, “that the ancient family began as a veritable church.”
This history may be news to Anglo-Americans liberals, who routinely take the individual as a natural given. In the social contract, individuals are a premise, not a product. In economics, the satisfaction of individual preferences is the self-evident goal, but this is never explained or justified, even though it is an astonishingly rare commitment across the sweep of time. Siedentop wants to treat such first principles as the result of a history that made liberalism conceivable in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »
The Temptation of Adam and Eve
Oil on panel, 97 x 60.5 cm
Collection: National Trust
A boy whose inspirational tale about going to heaven which became a religious best-seller admitted that his story was fake.
Alex Malarkey, subject of the best-selling 2010 book “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven,” admitted to the website Pulpit and Pen that his story was a fabrication. Alex was in a coma for two months in 2004 after suffering paralyzing injuries in a car crash. After Alex awoke from his coma, he claimed to have visited heaven and had met Jesus.
“I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention. When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible.”
“I did not die. I did not go to Heaven,” Alex told Pulpit and Pen in a letter titled “An Open Letter to Lifeway and Other Sellers, Buyers, and Marketers of Heaven Tourism, by the Boy Who Did Not Come Back From Heaven.” The rest of Alex’s letter is below.
“I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention. When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible.”
[Get this hoax book while you can, I’m sure it’ll be collectible: “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven: A Remarkable Account of Miracles, Angels, and Life beyond This World” from Amazon.com]
It is only through repentance of your sins and a belief in Jesus as the Son of God, who died for your sins (even though he committed none of his own) so that you can be forgiven may you learn of Heaven outside of what is written in the Bible…not by reading a work of man. I want the whole world to know that the Bible is sufficient. Those who market these materials must be called to repent and hold the Bible as enough. In Christ, Alex Malarkey.” Read the rest of this entry »
Adam and Eve Expelled from Eden
Date painted: c.1876
Oil on canvas, 202.5 x 89.9 cm
Collection: Brighton and Hove Museums and Art Galleries
Today (Nov. 25) we celebrate the memorial of the martyr St. Catherine of Alexandria…. (read more)
The 1,500-year-old papyrus charm discovered in the vaults
“The first ever found to refer to the Last Supper and use magic in the Christian context.”
Dr Mazza said it was an “incredibly rare example of the Bible becoming meaningful to ordinary people”.
She said it would have been put in a locket to protect wearers from danger. Read the rest of this entry »
“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.”
—Luke 24:5–6 (ESV)
For Breitbart.com, Ken Klukowski writes: “He is risen!” For centuries, it was proclaimed in the streets on Easter morning. It was a way that Christians identified each other on this day, as another Christian hearing it would respond, “He is risen indeed!”
Easter was the hope of an eternal existence, and one that has baffled scholars for centuries to explain. It’s hard to come up with a theory that explains it all away.
There was a sizeable group of men and women, whose leader claimed to be divine. They saw their leader arrested, tortured with a series of savage punishments that often proved deadly in their own right, nailed to a wooden cross through his hands and feet by professional executioners who crucified convicts on a regular basis, hung on that cross for hours until he was dead, then one soldier thrust a spear into his chest to confirm his demise before taking him down. The soldiers involved in this process would themselves be executed if a person handed over to them for termination was let go alive, so they tended to be thorough. After that point, his body was wrapped in burial clothes and he was put in a tomb under guard. His followers fled in fear and despair.
Then three days later they say they saw him, and spent time with him over a period of days. They said they spoke with him, ate food with him, and walked with him. Then they say he was taken up before their eyes into heaven. And for the rest of their lives, they would travel the known world heedless of any dangers, talking about Jesus Christ and writing the New Testament of the Bible. They were persecuted and executed one by one, yet still continued with unabated zeal for decades until their last breath. Read the rest of this entry »
President Obama has “never been interested in lowering the deficit,” Charles Krauthammer said on Special Report. “It contradicts the reason he ran for president: It’s to change a lot of things in society, to give people stuff like health care.”
“On this idea of austerity…we’ve talked about Obama’s assaulting the Constitution…”
“…this is an assault on the dictionary.”
Stay tuned for the President’s upcoming assault on The American Heritage Roget’s Thesaurus, The Bible (King James Version), the The World Encyclopedia of Comics (Volume 1), and the The Complete Works of Shakespeare…
Obama ran a $4 trillion deficit in three years, Krauthammer explained…
“the deficit that he now touts as the triumph of austerity is the highest, higher than any deficit in the history of the country preceding him.”
[Check out Charles’ Bestselling book “Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics” at Amazon]
Lions have been replaced by firing squads and concentration camps as record numbers of Jesus’ worshipers are persecuted from Syria to North Korea.
Kirsten Powers writes: The concept of Christian martyrdom may seem like something from a bygone, uncivilized era when believers were mercilessly thrown to the lions. Not so. This week, Open Doors, a non-denominational group supporting persecuted Christians worldwide, reported that Christian martyrdom has grown into a pervasive and horrifying human rights crisis.
In their annual report of the worst 50 countries for Christian persecution, Open Doors found that Christian martyr deaths around the globe doubled in 2013. Their report documented 2,123 killings, compared with 1,201 in 2012. In Syria alone, there were 1,213 such deaths last year. In addition to losing their lives, Christians around the world continue to suffer discrimination, imprisonment, harassment, sexual assaults, and expulsion from countries merely for practicing their faith.
h/t The Greenroom
Colion Noir writes: Somewhere between screaming for gun control and then being called out for actually wanting gun confiscation, the anti-gunners decided to change the phrase “gun control” to “gun safety.” I wonder why they would do that. I mean, whether you call it 2G, 4G, or 9G, you’re still screwing me with the same slow ass Internet speeds, the same way anti-gunners are trying to force feed us the “gun safety” placebo.
All trained gun users learn that there are four rules of gun safety that will prevent any and all unintentional death, injury, or damage caused by improper possession, storage, or handling of firearms. They are:
One: Treat all guns as if they are always loaded.
Two: Never let point the muzzle at anything you are not willing to destroy.
Three: Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target.
And finally, four: Know your target, and know what’s beyond it.
So, now that we’ve gone through the four Founding Fathers of gun safety, someone please tell me how a universal background check, assault weapons ban, or high capacity magazine ban has anything to do with the rules of gun safety?
The show, titled Holy Safari, would feature Simpson traveling the world and interviewing religious leaders, even the Pope. Simpson is awaiting a decision on the appeal of his convictions for armed robbery and kidnapping.
Norman Pardo, the promoter, who has known Simpson for 20 years, had some rather interesting things to say about his client: that he constantly reads the Bible as well as the Koran, that he converted a white supremacist to Christianity while in prison, and most importantly, that Simpson is the best person to impart the message of God.