Friday, September 9, 2011

And the Bible flew over the moon.

Ok, I know that in the nursery rhyme it is the cow that flew over the moon. But apparently so did the Bible when it was put on microfilm and carried on the Apollo 14 space capsule. And you can own it now for a bid of $5000 or more. Here is the story.

A bible that has sat on the moon's surface is being sold by the RR Auction House. Dubbed a "moon bible," the piece starts at a minimum bid of $5000.

The idea for a moon bible was thought up by the Apollo Prayer League, a group of religious NASA employees who got Apollo astronauts to carry copies of the Kings James bible with them on space missions.

A total of 300 bibles made it into the cosmos during the Apollo 14 trip to the moon (although only a 100 made it to the lunar surface).

There is no gravity in space, of course, but clearly carrying 300 books of over 1,000 pages each would be troublesome for NASA, no?

No. The bibles were converted to microfilm so they could be easily carried and so they didn't take up valuable room and weight during lift-off.

"On February 5, 1971, they made their historic landfall with Alan Shepard​ and me on the Moon at Fra Mauro, and remained for 34 hours," Apollo 14 Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell says on a signed certificate accompanying the bible.

The bibles also traveled on the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission, which aborted its moon visit in order to safely return to Earth.

If the moon bible itself wasn't enough, the microfilm slide is housed in a 22 karat gold and jewel display case and topped with a crown. the circular case reads "The First Lunar Bible." It also comes with a copy of C.L. Mersch's book “The Apostles of Apollo,” which details the bibles' journey into place.

The auction begins Sept. 15. Also for sale is Neil Armstrong's Apollo training glove and a Russian Sokol KV-2 Spacesuit.

You can read it here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hebrew, Greek and Latin Bibles online

The German Bible Society has created a site where you can access the Bible in original languages for free. This is a great resource for students not to mention when you are on the road and don't have one of your Bibles with you.

Go here to register and begin using the site.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Use slavery or use freedom?

1 Corinthians 7:21 has the distinction of being the only passage in which Paul directly addresses slaves. As demonstrated in the previous chapter, the majority of Paul’s slavery language is confined to the realm of metaphor. And the Letter to Philemon, although written on behalf of a slave, does not actually speak to the slave. It is possible that one could interpret the baptismal formula in Gal 3:28 as speaking to slaves, but not to the same degree as we find in 1 Cor 7:21.

The passage holds another distinction. It is one of the more difficult passages to translate and interpret. It appears that Paul left his thoughts incomplete. In 7:21 he says, “Were you a slave when called? Do not worry about it. But if you are able to become free “make use of it.” Translators and interpreters have asked the same question: use what? The direct object of the phrase is ambiguous and requires translators to make a choice. Did Paul mean that those who had become Christians while slaves should use their slavery, that is refuse the chance to become free? Did he mean that slaves should use their freedom? Or did he mean he wanted slaves to continue to use their calling by God? ‘Slavery,’ ‘freedom’ and ‘calling’ are each an important part of Paul’s discussion in 1 Cor 7:17-24, and a case can be made for each term to fill in Paul’s brachylogy.

Scott Bartchy was one of the first to dedicate a major piece of research to the problem. He has recent made a copy of a paper available in which he argues that Paul did not mean to use slavery.

You can read it here.

If you want to have some fun. See how many ways this verse has been translated over the last century.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Fake Lead Codices Exposed

Over the last few months there has been quite a bit about the Lead Codices that were supposedly found by a Bedouin in Jordan. The Elkingtons, the couple promoting the find, were on the TV interview circuit claiming that the codices were real and that they dated from first century. They even suggested that the codices were from early Christians and contained new information about Jesus.

Bibliobloggers, however, reacted quickly asking numerous questions about the authenticity of the codices and the Elkingtons. At the same time, the media kept running the story and more times than not failed to listen to the experts, many of whom were also biblibloggers.Eventually, the media also began to question the Elkingtons' claims.

Below is a 10 minute video clip posted by Tom Verenna that traces the story from the beginning and lists out the substantial evidence against the authenticity of the codices. This well done and think it is important that people be aware that these lead books are NOT the biggest find since the Dead Sea Scroll, but are more than likely the biggest fraud since the scrolls.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Book Giveaway Winner!

Congrats to Amos Cung Bik. He is the winner of this week's giveaway. He has won. Michael Coogan The Oxford History of the Biblical World (2001).

Amos, send your details to me at and I will send you the book. Remember that you have five days to claim your prize before it goes back on the shelf.