Talpiotische Schadenfreude

Succinct and memorable commentary is such a treasure:

“. . . archaeo-porn . . .”
          –Jonathan Reed, The Lost Tomb of Jesus: A Critical Look.

“. . . pimping off the Bible . . .”
          –Joe Zias, Newsweek

giggle giggle giggle

Very Enjoyable Heroes

So, because of a brief mention by Chris Heard at Higgaion of the new television show Heroes, I by chance saw that it was coming on last night, so I watched the first episode, by the end of which I was hooked. NBC actually showed a “marathon” of the first three episodes, I suppose for the benefit of people like me who’d thought upon first hearing of it that it was just some


I’m sure some may have noticed the absolutely perfect Pirate Wench cover illustration over there under my Currently Reading heading. Alas, I am not reading Pirate Wench, undoubtedly a scintillating tale of swashbuckling with a touch of the gamine. The image links to the book I’m actually reading: editor William H. Hallo’s Scripture in Context III: The Bible in the Light of Cuneiform Literature.

I’ve used the Pirate Wench cover because my copy of Scripture in Context III is an old review copy and thus just has a white softback cover, and I couldn’t find an image of the cover online, nor is there a copy locally available for a scan. And, of course, the cover is hysterically funny. Is she a giantess about to grab the head of the man with the strange ribcage? Is it maybe because he’s about as smart as mud, judging by that look on his face and by him wearing his belt over his shoulder and a scarf around his waist? Maybe he’s so dumb because of all the concussions he’s gotten from Giantess Pirate Wench? Why is the little pirate to the left seeming to flee her sash? Is it maybe the color combination that horrifies him, as it does any sane and civilized person? Why does her sword look like a giant toothpick? If this is a “complete and unabridged” edition, does that mean that there was an “incomplete and abridged” edition? And lastly, what self-respecting lady pirate captain would have allowed herself to be called a wench? I think this maybe isn’t the historical novel and accurate period illustration we might have first thought….

So there we are! Instead of an image of a boring white cover stamped with “Review Copy,” you are herewith presented with a larger size version of Pirate Wench! Arrrrrrr!

Continue reading “Arrrrr!”

The one book meme

1. One book that changed your life.
The Orthodox Church, Bishop Kallistos (Ware)

2. One book that you’ve read more than once:
The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, Vladimir Lossky

3. One book you’d want on a desert island:
The Bible, with all the apocrypha

4. One book that made you laugh:
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke

5. One book that made you cry:
The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam, Bat Ye’or

6. One book that you wish had been written:
A Commentary on the Scriptures, Jesus of Nazareth
[Oops. I just noticed I had originally misread that as “One book that you wish you had written. That’s why I answered with Introducing the Apocrypha, David deSilva, because I’d actually been putting together almost an identical book when his came out!]

7. One book that you wish had never been written:
The Qur’an (see 5, above)

8. One book you’re currently reading:
Scripture in Tradition: The Bible and its Interpretation in the Orthodox Church, Fr John Breck

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:
Unseen Warfare, St Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

10. Now tag five people:
Mike Aquilina, Claude Mariottini, Fr John Whiteford, and the last two people on the web who haven’t yet done it, whoever they may be.


Adam and Eve had forty fingers and toes between them. God sent rain for forty days and forty nights to flood the world. There weren’t even forty righteous people in Sodom. Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah. Esau was forty years old when he married his two wives. The Egyptians took forty days to embalm Jacob. The Israelites ate manna for forty years. Moses stayed on Mount Sinai for forty days and forty nights without food or water, receiving the words of the covenant. The Israelite spies infiltrated Canaan for forty days. The Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years. Their clothes and shoes didn’t wear out for forty years. Caleb was forty years old when he was sent as a spy into Canaan. Under Othniel, the Israelites had forty years of peace. After Deborah and Baraq defeated Sisera, the Israelites had peace for forty years. During Gideon’s time, the Israelites had peace for forty years. Abdon had forty sons. The Philistines oppressed the Israelites for forty years. Eli led Israel for forty years. Goliath the Philistine challenged the Israelites to single combat for forty days, until David took him up. Saul was forty years old when he became king of Israel. David reigned over Israel for forty years. The central hall of Solomon’s Temple was forty cubits long. Each of Solomon’s mobile basins held forty baths. Solomon reigned over Israel for forty years. It took Elijah forty days and forty nights to reach Mount Horeb. Hazael brought forty camels loaded with gifts for Elishah. Joash reigned over Judah for forty years. The governors preceding Nehemiah charged a tax of forty shekels per man. Through the prophet Ezekiel, God threatened to make Egypt a ruin and exile its people for forty years. The central hall of Ezekiel’s Temple was forty cubits long. Jesus was in the desert, fasting for forty days and forty nights, and being tempted by Satan. After His resurrection, Jesus remained among His disciples for forty days, and then ascended to heaven. The Apostle Paul says Saul ruled Israel for forty years. And I am forty years old today. Happy birthday to me!

St. Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho Podcast!

Every once in a while I do a search for mentions of my stuff online, and I found that Mr. and Mrs. James Rennie of Dead White Guys have recorded my public domain text of St. Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho the Jew as a podcast! (He’s Justin and she’s everyone else.) The actual podcast files are also archived (or whatever they call it for podcasts!) in various other places, like here where I first ran into it. There are a number of readings of various other Church Fathers as well.

How cool is that?! It’s a joy to hear. Also, hearing it read, I think I have a little more work to put into it to make it better for reading, but it does remarkably well in its current edition. What a fun resource!

He even pronounces my somewhat odd last name as I do: edge-km, not -comb, like the thing you fix your hair with. The -comb(e)/-cumbe ending comes from the Old Celtic kumbos, according to the OED, which means valley. We’re supposed to be in the Domesday Book somewhere, though I’ve never looked it up. A couple of old family houses are a medieval one here and an eighteenth century one here. Dad’s family apparently came to the Colonies before they got uppity; though I don’t know the details, some others in the family have written all that up. There’s also a Mount Edgecumbe in Alaska, and an Edgecombe County in North Carolina. Neat, huh? Now, back to the subject!