God Didn't Say That

Bible Translations and Mistranslations

Off Topic: How I Spent My Summer Vacation

I had the great fortune this summer to speak in three cities in South Africa, and I’m blogging about what I saw — both the politics and the exquisite nature — on my fiction author site.

I just wrote about my first day of safari:

Rhino in Pilanesberg

Rhino in Pilanesberg

The setting was incredible. Pockets of small green trees punctuated vast expanses of golden grass beneath cloud-streaked blue skies. If serenity and awe had a visual representation, this was surely it.

Keep reading…

And previous entries address things like my attempts to learn about the local culture:

Students Watch Performers in Soweto

Students Watch Performers in Soweto

“What,” I asked them, “should I know about South Africa that I’m unlikely to see on my own?” I followed up with, “what would I see I could leave my bubble?”

There were some language barriers. But I could be patient.

Read the whole thing…

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming….

October 1, 2015 Posted by | Off Topic | | Leave a comment

The Joy of Reading the Bible’s Ancient Texts

Again a little off topic, from my work on The Unabridged Bible, but probably of interest to readers here, especially if you know a little Greek. From The Joy of Reading the Text for Yourself:

There’s something inexplicably exhilarating — at least for me — about reading actual ancient texts. I don’t mean transcriptions, but the texts themselves.

To help spread this joy, I’ve put a page of the glorious 6th-century Vienna Genesis manuscript of the Septuagint on The Unabridged Bible. In addition to the fabulous illustration, the Greek text of Genesis 39 is remarkably clear. If you know Greek, you can probably read a lot of it, even though it’s in all caps, with no spaces between the words.

For navigational help, I’ve added verse numbers, and, beneath the facsimile, I’ve put a complete transcription of the Greek, with diacritics. (It’s hard to imagine I didn’t mistype anything, though, so if you find a typo, please let me know.)


Comments are disabled here because this is off topic, but I’d love to hear from you in the comments section of the original post.

January 21, 2014 Posted by | Off Topic | Leave a comment

Sneak-Peek of “The Unabridged Bible”

tub7bA bit off-topic, but still certainly Bible related:

Though my newest project, “The Unabridged Bible,” won’t roll out until a couple of months into 2014, a sneak-peek is available now, with two four lots of sample pages, including:

The Master Index is also live, though we’re still tweaking the format.

I’ll be grateful for any early feedback, here or on the project’s blog, (except that I think I hate the look of that blog as it stands now) with a new look that I think I like.

November 29, 2013 Posted by | announcements, Off Topic | , , , | 2 Comments

Publication of “The Warwick Files: Revenge”

From my personal blog:

The Warwick Files:  Revenge

The Warwick Files: Revenge

It gives me great pleasure to announce the publication of “Revenge,” the second story in my thriller series, “The Warwick Files.”

In “Revenge,” a woman breaks off an affair with the governor, pitting Police Chief Kai Goodman against the State Police.

Like the first story, “Revenge” features Coyote “Kai” Goodman, whose past is so secret that even his cover story is classified. The setting is Warwick, NY, where, according to the official count, there are no spies.

The story is available in paperback for $3.95, and, like most short stories, for only $0.99 on Kindle. Or start reading the story for no-charge on-line.

To celebrate this release, the Kindle edition of “Checkpoint” — the first story in the series — is a free download, but only today.

I hope you enjoy reading “Revenge” it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

March 8, 2013 Posted by | announcements, Off Topic | , , | 1 Comment

“The Warwick Files: Checkpoint” is Now Available

The Warwick Files:  Checkpoint

The Warwick Files: Checkpoint

I’m pleased to announce the publication of “Checkpoint,” the first story in my new thriller series: The Warwick Files.

The stories feature Police Chief Coyote “Kai” Goodman, whose past is so secret that even his cover story is classified. The setting is Warwick, NY, where, according to the official count, there are no spies.

In the inaugural story, “Checkpoint,” a man evades a police checkpoint and unknowingly triggers his own murder. Police Chief Kai Goodman knows why. Do you?

The story is available in soft cover for $3.95, and, like most short stories, for only $0.99 on Kindle. Take a look, or start with the official trailer.

I wrote this to be a fun diversion from my research (even though I try to have fun with that, too). I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

December 5, 2012 Posted by | announcements, Off Topic | , , | 4 Comments

Reflections on Hurricane Sandy

The Aftermath of Hurricane "Frankenstorm" Sandy

The Aftermath of Hurricane “Frankenstorm” Sandy

On my personal blog, I have a few thoughts about what it was like when Hurricane Sandy roared through, as well as some photos and a short video:

The wind howling. The power and phones out. The trees arching precariously, some throwing their branches against my house, others crashing to the ground. The sun setting low behind dark, overcast skies.

Astonishingly, that was the calm before the storm, though I didn’t know it at the time.

Keep reading.

I’ll be back to blogging once I get power and Internet back.

November 5, 2012 Posted by | Off Topic | , , | Leave a comment

An Open Letter to CNN’s Piers Morgan

Again, slightly off topic, but I think important for those of us who take the Bible and these issues seriously:

Is homosexuality a sin?Dear Mr. Morgan:

I believe you have been promoting bigotry and helping to perpetrate a fraud.

During both of your interviews with Pastor Joel Osteen on your CNN broadcast, you let the religious leader tell your audience that Scripture calls homosexuality a sin. But you didn’t ask him where the Bible says that.

It’s both an important point and an easy one to settle. You could have asked Pastor Osteen for the chapter and verse that he thinks calls homosexuality a sin. What you would have found is that he couldn’t provide it, because Pastor Osteen was expressing his personal opinion, not quoting the Bible. The Bible doesn’t say that homosexuality is a sin.

Read the rest…

[Update: An expanded version of this letter, with additional information about how I read the Bible regarding homosexuality, is available on the Huffington Post. (June 5, 2012)]

May 23, 2012 Posted by | Off Topic | , | 9 Comments

On the Historical Adam

I’ve posted some thoughts about how modernity and science interact with the historical Adam:

“The Apostle Paul did not Believe in the Historical Adam”

A debate has been raging about whether Adam was an historical figure. I think it’s important, because it represents a more general debate about how to live a modern religious life. I also think it highlights a fundamental misunderstanding.
keep reading…

Even though it’s slightly off-topic, I’m reposting the link, because I’d love feedback from readers here.

Read the whole thing here: “The Apostle Paul did not Believe in the Historical Adam.”

May 11, 2012 Posted by | Off Topic | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I’m Back, for a Bit

A while ago my laptop crashed, the result of a virus.

My first repair attempt went like this:

  1. Boot Windows XP from the Installation CD.
  2. Windows: “Windows is examining your hardware … Press ‘R’ to repair Windows.”
  3. Me: “R”
  4. Windows: “Insert repair disk into floppy drive.”

I don’t have a floppy drive. Good job examining the hardware, Windows.

“If Windows made cars, you’d be driving from NY to LA, and somewhere around the Rockies the radio would stop working, and you’d be asked to turn the car off and on again. And when you did, you’d be back in NY.”

On one hand, I’m lucky, because I use a different computer for writing, so I didn’t lose anything important. I only use the laptop for three things: to connect to my main computer when I travel; for Bibleworks, which is an indispensable Bible research tool; and for Web-intensive applications, like WordPress. But when the virus hit, I lost those three.

In spite of a background in Computer Science (from my year doing graduate work at the Technion in Israel), I didn’t have the inclination or the patience to reinstall Windows, but I was left with little choice, because I need Windows XP (which they don’t sell any more) and I didn’t want to give up the unlimited data plan that comes with my internal Verizon data card.

Fortunately, I have the installation disks, including the Windows CD and Dell’s supplemental disks.

Unfortunately, simply following the instructions doesn’t work. (It never does.)
One particularly frustrating moment came when the newly installed Windows couldn’t find the Ethernet driver. “Do you want to connect to the Internet to find a driver?” Windows asked.

At any rate, the computer mostly works now. It still gives an error message every time it boots. Oddly, I can’t view PDF files, because installation of Adobe’s Acrobat Reader fails with a “general error.” And there are other quirks. But it works.

Still, between a crippled computer, lots of travel, and even more writing, I’ve been away from this blog for too long. I’m back now, for a bit, on and off, until things calm down.

May 9, 2012 Posted by | meta, Off Topic | 5 Comments


Last week’s freak snowstorm that blanketed the vibrant fall foliage with snow was truly one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I think it was even worth being without power for a week.

Driveway with Snow Foliage

Driveway with Snow Foliage

Snow Foliage

Snow Foliage

Snow Foliage

Snow Foliage

Driving Home

Driving Home

November 7, 2011 Posted by | Off Topic | | Leave a comment