Thought for the Day

Donald Hagner writes

But no more than Genesis provides details about precisely how God created the world does Revelation provide details about how all things will come to an end.

– Donald A. Hagner, The New Testament: A Historical and Theological Introduction (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012), 746.

So, there you go.

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Bible Review: NIV Pitt Minion Reference Edition

Pitt Minion NIV Reference Edition published by Cambridge

Cambridge University Press | Amazon | CBD

I was pleased to receive this little gem of a Bible from the generous folks at Cambridge! Having just introduced the HCSB Ultrathin Reference Bible into my rotation, I have a measure of sorts with which to compare this bible.

First, I conduct the aroma test. This is the only goatskin bible I have and I’ve not ever handled one that I can recall, so I was not sure what to expect. I opened the box and held the bible close to take in the aroma of its binding. My first impression was it did not have the lovely leathery aroma of top grain cowhide, which was a bit disappointing. There is the smell of leather, but it’s definitely deeper, almost musky, and thus not quite as appealing as cowhide, at least not initially. Though I wouldn’t liken it to the comparison of goat cooking on an open flame to beef (the goat is somewhat off putting), it is an earthier scent. However, I can say after having used this bible for a few months, the aroma is much more subtle and more pleasing than at first.

Second, and the most important aspect, is the bible’s overall usability. This particular bible is smaller than most I have. It is more like a slimline and measures approximately 174 x 120 mm (6.8 x 4.7 in). The downside is obviously the readability; however, despite its smaller size it’s a very readable font face (6.75/7 pt Lexicon) and a very portable bible. Several months’ use has also loosened the leather so that it is more pliable than when straight out of the box. The text is laid out in two-column format, which with a font size of 7 could be a little small for some. Surprisingly, the font and format is quite readable. The two columns are intersected by a center column populated by cross references noted in the text. Other features include the words of Jesus in red, an NIV concordance, and fifteen bible maps, each of which are nicely colored and coded with an index of various features of the maps themselves.

The binding is quite nice, though as I noted, the leather is not as aromatic as others. Nevertheless, the leather having softened a bit is nice and looks really good. There is a very clear grain to the goatskin that seems commensurate with its provenance. It boasts art guild edges and two ribbon markers, seemingly standard fare for higher-end bibles such as these. All these elements contribute to overall pleasing aesthetic and a perfectly nice bible for regular reading and handling.

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Music Monday

Today’s Music Monday offering comes from Seattle’s 7HORNS 7EYES. Their album Throes of Absolution was well received by critics and fans alike when it dropped in 2012.

7h7e - toaThe band’s name comes from Revelation 5 where the lamb who had been slain is depicted as having seven horns and seven eyes. Lyrically this album is steeped in Christian apocalyptic imagery and fits the tone of the music quite well. Speaking of the music, it is quite good, really good in fact. The stars here are the guitars, which are not only brooding and heavy, but laced with soaring leads that betray talented wielders of the instrument. While the drums and bass are performed ably, they clearly play a supporting role for the axemen, which doesn’t bother me in the least. There’s also vocalist J J “Shiv” Polacek (also the frontman for Ovid’s Withering and Monotheist), whose unearthly lows track perfectly alongside the dual 7-string riffs. Oh, there’s the added bonus of an instrumental track featuring guitar virtuoso Jeff Loomis!

7H7E are back in the studio working on a new album, one that I anxiously await!

My favorite tracks on this album are easy–the opener Divine Amnesty and the closer The Winnowing, which features lyrics like

Desolation fills the earth, these are the final days.
Prepare for the coming of the risen Lamb.
Die to yourself, renovate your heart.

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On Revelation and Empire

Stephen Moore writes,

Parody of the Roman imperial order permeates Revelation, reaching a scurrilous climax in the depiction of the goddess Roma, austere and noble personification the urbs aeterna, as a tawdry whore who has had a little too much drink.

Stephen D. Moore, “The Revelation to John,” in A Postcolonial Commentary on the New Testament Writings, ed. Fernando F. Segovia and R. S. Sugirtharajah (London: T&T Clark, 2009), 436.

Boom.

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Caird on Sin

I like G. B. Caird and I think his synopsis of the evil in the world is spot on. This quote come from his commentary on Revelation, specifically his discussion of the locusts of chapter nine and their human-like faces (p. 120). He writes

Evil may take many sinister forms and ramify far beyond the immediate implications of individual sin; but in the last analysis it has a human face, for it is caused by the rebellion of human wills against the will of God.

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Ancient Remedies

One of the more enjoyable aspects of researching ancient culture is what you learn that is secondary to the subject on which you’re reading and/writing. I’m finishing up a research paper that led me to Pliny the Elder, who lived in the first century CE. His still-famous Naturalis Historia (Natural History) became a classic work. It is essentially a catalog of the plant and animal kingdoms in Pliny’s culture. But far from merely describing the flora and fauna of his world, Pliny provides countless remedies that are comprised of various animal parts. For your dermatological needs, consider the following remedies:

  • A vulture’s blood, beaten up with cedar resin and root of white chameleon and covered with a cabbage leaf, when applied, is good for the cure of leprosy; the same, too, with the legs of locusts, beaten up with he-goat suet.
  • Pimples are treated with poultry grease, beaten up and kneaded with onions.
  • One very useful substance for the face is honey in which the bees have died; but a sovereign detergent for that part is swans’ grease, which has also the property of effacing wrinkles.
  • Brand-marks are removed by using pigeons’ dung, diluted in vinegar.

For your throat problems, consider these remedies:

  • Affections of the uvula and pains in the fauces are alleviated by using the dung of lambs before they have begun to graze, dried in the shade.
  • The same maladies (uvular maladies) are treated also with ashes of burnt swallows, mixed with honey; a preparation which is equally good for affections of the tonsillary glands.
  • Millepedes, bruised with pigeons’ dung, are taken as a gargle, with raisin wine.

For your shoulder problems, get yourself some ashes of a burnt weasel and mix with wax—it’s a cure for pains in the shoulders.

Want your teens to be nice and smooth beneath the arms? Have them rub their arm pits with ants’ eggs.

And what ancient didn’t have issues with stomach pains! Remedies were plentiful! According to Pliny, one of the very best remedies for affections of the stomach is to use a snail diet. They must first be left to simmer in water for some time, without touching the contents of the shell, after which, without any other addition, they must be grilled upon hot coals, and eaten with wine and garum; the snails of Africa being the best of all for the purpose. But remember, snails will give you bad breath!

If you’re afflicted with having to spit blood, use a vulture’s lungs, burnt upon vine logs, and mixed with half the quantity of pomegranate blossoms, or with the same proportion of quince and lily blossom: the whole being taken morning and evening, in wine, if there is no fever; but where there are symptoms of fever, instead of wine, water is used in which quinces have been boiled.

There’s plenty more, and these I’ve reproduced here are rather mild in comparison to some others he names. Go here to read more.

Ah, the ancients—how entertaining they can be!

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Mystery Solved

Apparently, a mass of mail has been sitting undelivered at a postal facility in Dallas. Sometime last year, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft sent me a copy of Biblia Graeca, which never made it to my mailbox. In light of this story, I have no trouble believing that it’s sitting in some postal facility somewhere because surely no one would open it and think, “I can make some money off of this!”

Seriously–how do more than 3,000 pieces of mail go undelivered? I can only assume there are more than a few time-sensitive documents that were never delivered.

Ridiculous.

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