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Posts Tagged ‘age’

Kings 8 & 9

Sorry….I have been neglecting this blog of late! More on Kings, connoisseurs and collectors over at the other place.


New This Month: April Part 1

This month we expand our industrial revolution content with a look at causes and preconditions, and the often overlooked issue of banking and finance. We also have snapshots of two key figures: Richard Arkwright and Abraham Darby I

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Why Did Russia give Crimea to Ukraine?

Some of the press surrounding the recent acquisition of Crimea by Russia included the statement that they were changing borders established in the aftermath of World War 2. However, Crimea was transferred to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic by the Russian Soviet Federation in 1954. The reason why is indistinct, and Mark Kramer, Director of the Cold War Studies Program at Harvard University, has posted his deduction via the Wilson Center website. If you want the shorthand, Khrushchev used sending Crimea to Ukraine to gather support in his battle for power after Stalin’s death.

The Creation(ist) Tour in a Secular Age: Reprise of an RiAH Classic. Or: Why There is Almost No HOpe for America.

Editorial Note: Our esteemed co-blogmeister Randall Stephens is enjoying the fruits of his success presently at a conference at Oxford, and as a result this month doesn’t have time to pay his taxes to “the little people” who run this blog. As a result,  and since we are in re-run season anyway, I am reposting one of his contributions from May of last year.

It is especially appropriate to post this now since I just had the great pleasure of hanging out here in Colorado Springs with my buddy Sarah Posner, who was here working for a story for The American Prospect that will appear next week, about Hobby Lobby and its suit concerning the “contraception mandate” in Obamacare, an issue that no doubt will find its way to the Supreme Court in some future session. While she was here, Sarah also visited the “Creation Tour” (“Prepare to Be Amazed”) given by the Navigators at Glen Eyrie, the stunningly beautiful headquarters of the group near Garden of the Gods in the western part of Colorado Springs (the campgrounds and headquarters there were mercifully spared during the Waldo Canyon Fire of 2012, which for a time threatened to engulf that entire area). There, she discovered that the massive geologic rock formations in my home area were of recent vintage, dating from the time they were carved by Noah’s flood, and that there is of course no evidence for the long history that you would learn in virtually any Geology or Geography course anywhere in the United States, including in most religiously-affiliated colleges, or for that matter in the Visitor’s Center for Garden of the Gods park just down the road from Glen Eyrie. That brought to mind the chapter on creationist experts from Randall’s book The Anointed, and hence a re-run of the post below. 

Randall Stephens

When you’re actually getting hate mail and watching conservative Christians rail against you on-line, it is . . . not fun.  But now looking back on how my co-authored book and a couple op-eds Karl Giberson and I wrote were received is sorta entertaining, in a bizarre way.

The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age(Harvard, 2011) dealt with the rise and popularity of conservative evangelical experts.  These figures have served as go-to thought leaders on human origins, psychology, end-times theology, history, and more. We looked at the parallel culture of evangelicalism that has helped certain views thrive. And still evangelicalism in modern America is anything but monolithic. We also focused on a collection of evangelical scholars and scientists who are engaged with the fields they represent and tend to have a presence in the academy.

Sure, we did get some very positive reviews in Christian Century, the Wilson QuarterlyJesus Creed, the Nation, the New York TimesInside Higher Ed, andBooklist.  Yet, those did not have that red-faced, veins bulging-out-of-the neck, barking jeremiad passion that the haters put out there.  

So, I thought it would be interesting to put together excerpts from the “best of the worst” coverage, criticisms of both our opinion pieces and the book.  

Caveat: I apologize for what might seem like gross self indulgence.  Bear with me here.  No one threw a brick through my window.  No one wired my bicycle with explosives or put a severed horse head in my bed.  I have a great life and I love that I get to write and teach about some very interesting, controversial subjects.  Besides, we knew going into this project that it would ruffle some of the saints angel feathers.  (It would be nearly impossible to write about evangelical pseudo-expertise without stirring some kind of reaction.)

I post the bits below as a kind of therapy and to air some of the vitriol. We all get bad reviews now and then.  And maybe, just maybe, all publicity is good publicity.  (I doubt that.)  If folks want to buy our book just to burn it, or to read it in agitation, scribbling angry notes in the margins, and spilling coffee on the pages before firing off an ALL CAPS email to me, that’s fine! 

• Albert Mohler, “Total Capitulation: The Evangelical Surrender of Truth,” blog, October 25, 2011

Stephens and Giberson’s view “hardly represents an honest or respectful approach to dealing with the Bible’s comprehensive and consistent revelation concerning human sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular. . . . Evangelical Christians will either stand upon the authority and total truthfulness of the Bible, or we will inevitably capitulate to the secular worldview. Giberson and Stephens force us to see, and to acknowledge, the consequences of the evangelical surrender of truth.”

• “Arrogance, Intellectual Elitism, Rejection of Scripture, Karl Giberson,” Reformed Nazarene blog, October 24, 2011

“Only God knows how many students have had their faith shaken or shipwrecked because of [Giberson's] unbiblical teachings.  Sadly, it seems Dr. Stephens has taken up his mantle at the school and will continue to propagate false notions of the Bible to our students there.  Since they co-wrote this attack on fundamental Bible believers, it goes without saying that they share the same basic contempt for us.  It is a piece brimming with intellectual snobbery, in my opinion.”

• Ken Ham, New York Times Review Fails to Recognize Poor Scholarship,”Answers in Genesis blog, January 8, 2012

“Well the New York Times today has published a book review of The Anointed.  But, because the book attacks people like me who have a high regard for Scriptural authority but supposedly lack any scholarship, I find it highly ironic that the review does not bother to point out the poor scholarship or mistakes in The Anointed. But as usual for such books that attack God’s Word, the Times’ review speaks of it in glowing terms.”  AiG’s main point–that we said “Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, is a young-earth creationist”–is not true.  In the chapter referred to (pg 19) we said that Dobson “enthusiastically promotes” young-earth creationism.  He did.  I saw it, and actually took pictures of some young earth creationist materials, at the Focus on the Family bookstore while I was out in God’s country doing research in 2008.  (It’s also Paul Harvey’s country. Not that those are mutually exclusive.) 

This next one is my favorite, by far! Here Ken Ham tries to turn the fundamentalist thumbscrews on me.  What he doesn’t know is that I love thumbscrews.  A pressure point massage for the fingers I always say.

• Ken Ham, “What Does This Nazarene U. Professor Believe,” March 15, 2012

“After reading the article, I have come to many conclusions about what Stephens and his coauthor are stating. I hope every Nazarene understands what this Nazarene professor believes—and therefore we assume his beliefs are being transmitted to the students he teaches and influences:

- Biological evolution is fact.

- If you don’t believe in biological evolution, you are anti-knowledge, anti-intellectual, and anti-science.

- Secularists should be believed over the Bible.

- The Bible is not God-breathed.

- “Gay” marriage and homosexual behavior are natural and should not be spoken against.

- Anyone who believes in six literal days of creation and a young earth is anti-intellectual.

- Francis Schaeffer was not a scholar, and his biblical worldview was wrong.

- Absolute Christian morality based on the Bible is wrong.”

• Dennis Prager, “Are Evangelicals or University Professors More Irrational? This Jew prefers evangelicals’ values to those of left-wing intellectuals,” National Review, October 25, 2012

“With regard to man-made global warming, the charge that all skeptics are anti-science is despicable and indeed, anti-science. . . . With regard to those evangelicals — and for that matter those ultra-orthodox Jews — who believe that the earth is less than 10,000 years old and either that there were no dinosaurs or that they lived alongside human beings, my reaction has always been: So what? . . . If these professors typify the views of Eastern Nazarene College, which is officially listed as a Christian university, it is reason for despair. Once left-wing values enter the evangelical bloodstream, there is almost no hope for America.”

• Joe Carter, “A Different Type of Fundamentalist,” First Things blog, October 19, 2011

Giberson and Stephens “published an embarrassingly simple-minded op-ed in the New York Times . . . . The irony is that Giberson and Stephens are denouncing their fellow evangelicals when they themselves are as ‘anti-intellectual’ as Ham or Barton. But while the Hams and Bartons of the world may be merely annoying, the Gibersons and Stephens are completely insufferable.”

• And . . . finally, the epic last sentence of an email sent to me on October 25, 2011: “I sincerely hope that some day before you die you will have a change of heart back to the truth.”

Iron Age Gaming Pieces

If you’re interested in gaming (the older kind with physical pieces rather than the digital), you might like a picture on this Science Daily article. They’re reporting on a dig at an Iron Age hillfort in the UK, and among plenty of artefacts like spearheads and brooches, they found “gaming pieces.” There’s a good picture, and they’ll be familiar to players of modern games, especially the dice.

Europe in the Age of Louis XIV (1661-1715): A Bibliography

Reblogged from International History:


A Bibliography of Diplomatic and Military Studies

by William Young

Chapter 6 – Europe in the Age of Louis XIV (1661-1715)

Europe in the Age of Louis XIV (1661-1715): A Bibliography (pdf)

Useful list of books, journal articles, essays in English about European warfare and diplomacy during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

Iron Age find in Romanian Highway

Work is progressing in Romania on the Orastie-Sibiu highway, and the construction has been planned in association with the Romanian National History Museum. According to ‘Romania Insider‘, eleven sites of archaeological interest have been identified, and work has begun on excavating them. One key discovery is two hundred pieces of bronze and iron which date to the ninth to eighth centuries BC. They’re parts from jewellery, weapons and equipment, and are being billed as one of the most important finds in the country to date.

Remains of Bronze Age Culture Found in Caucasus

A joint Russo-German expedition to the Russian regions of the Caucasus has discovered the remains of a previously forgotten Bronze Age civilization. Dating back to between the sixteenth to fourteenth century BC, the remains cover sixty miles, with stone built architecture and bronze items, and are in good condition. The researchers worked from black and white pictures taken during the era of communist Russia, allied to modern systems like GPS. The BBC has more details

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Age of Exploration

Starting with a desire to reach Asia as overland trade routes dried up, explorers from Europe traveled West. Christopher Columbus made four voyages to the Americas, not realizing even upon his death that he has been to an entirely new continent. The years 1492 – 1585 saw many voyages by the Spanish, Portuguese, French, and English as they explored and conquered territory from North to South. Their main objectives were the three G’s: Gold, God, and Glory. Unfortunately, many native americans were killed either by disease or by conquest over the years. In the end, England, France, and Spain became the three main players in North America.

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Sea walk yields Stone Age Axe

Sometimes I write these news reports just because I wish it had happened to be. Alan Price, a carer with a background in archaeology, went for a walk on the shores of Orkney recently, and discovered an interesting object on the beach: part of a Palaeolithic axe which could be anywhere from 100,000 to 450,000 years old. Such axes are rare, especially in Scotland, and apparently amazed the archaeologists he took it too. The Scotsman‘s got a quote from Aberdeen University lecturer Carlin Wickham-Jones explaining “If it really comes from Orkney, it would change our understanding of the whole of Scotland. It would set back our known history from 14,000 years ago to at least 100,000 years ago.”

Bronze Age Battlefield Found?

Archaeologists may have found evidence of the earliest known battlefield in European history. A study published in Antiquity takes a look at excavations in the Tollense Valley in Germany, where roughly a hundred bodies have been found. Signs of a violent death are common among the remains, and there is little to suggest the bodies had a formal burial (the BBC has a picture of one of the skulls). Although we have remains showing signs of violence that date before the Tollense skeletons (from c. 1200 BC), this looks like it might be the earliest known battlefield in Europe.

Horatio Hornblower DVD Series Takes Viewer Back to the Age of Sail

Many years ago, as an 8th grader, I was assigned to read a literary novel. When I asked my parents for a recommendation, my dad suggested C.S. Forester’s classic Horatio Hornblower series. He knew I liked military history, and thought C.S. Forester’s literary masterpiece would be perfect. He was right! The book I chose was Beat to Quarters, and I could hardly put it down. Shortly thereafter, my dad introduced me to the movie Captain Horatio Hornblower, starring Gregory Peck. I ended up watching that film more than a few times! And, over the next few years, I read more of C.S. Forester’s novels as well as those of Alexander Kent.

You can imagine then my excitement, when A&E debuted the Horatio Hornblower television movies, featuring Ioan Gruffudd as the title character. At the time, Gruffudd was a relative newcomer to acting, but has since gone on to star in The Fantastic Four films. In addition to Gruffudd, the cast included Robert Lindsay, Jamie Bamber, and Paul Copley.

If you haven’t yet seen the award-winning A&E Hornblower films, you should order the HORATIO HORNBLOWER COLLECTOR’S EDITION from Amazon without delay. The Collector’s Edition features all eight movies, where you can watch Hornblower rise from midshipman to ship’s commander. It’s awesome swashbuckling naval adventure!

The Hornblower movies ran from the late 1990s to the early 2000s on A&E, and then, due to apparent budget issues, further production was set aside. In interviews, Gruffudd has said he’s interested in bringing them back, but it appears that may be a long time coming, if at all. Until then, you need these movies in your collection.

The Collector’s Edition comes with an exclusive interviews, filmmaker commentaries, bonus programs, interactive features, photo gallery, and more. Order now.

Dark age haunting in the County Durham

Beachcombing likes to think of the little village of Shincliffe sometimes as night is falling, particularly if it’s raining. True, he’s never been to this particular corner of the north of England. But he’s done the next best thing – looked at google earth and several OS maps. And he suspects that he knows it as well as any other non-visitor.

His fascination in this obscure Co. Durham settlement stems from its name, which has not changed substantially from when it was first recorded almost a thousand years ago.

C. 1110 it was written Schinneclif. And as this is and was an obscure village it is possible that the name was already bandied around in a similar form c. 700 and that no one troubled to write it down in those pre-literate times, despite it being so close to Durham.

Certainly, it didn’t make it into the exhaustive Domesday Book in 1086.

The second part of the name is ‘cliff’ and very likely refers to the steep bank of forested slopes that comes up from the river Wear. Beachcombing’s trusty map tells him that there is a mix there of deciduous and conifer trees. The Roman and the medieval crossing of the river was nearby.

Shin or Schinne comes instead from the Anglo-Saxon word scin meaning ‘shining one’. The word was coined in a period of English history – often and correctly called the Dark Ages – when historians know painfully little about what went on. However, there is no question that the scin – pronounced like the part of Beachcombing’s leg that Mrs B. often kicks - was some kind of luminous supernatural being. True the scin is not one of the classic beasties that the early English dreamed up: e.g. elves or shucks. But  scin was associated with the words for magic and witchcraft and could even be employed for a demon. Beachcombing likes to think of it as a bogey man connected to the ruins of the Roman bridge, a kind of Geordie troll, but this is just pure self-indulgence.

Something, in any case, was believed to dwell on the slope here and sent the local children to bed with nightmares.

The Christianisation of Dark Age England was frighteningly complete and names of this sort are among the few precious clues we have of what animated the pre-Christian medieval populations. Was the scin originally a deity or was it a monster? Did the locals sacrifice to appease it? Or did they work charms against it? No one knows but it is exciting to be able to ask the questions while bemoaning the fact that all we have left of an entire religious universe is a mispronounced syllable in a modern placename.

Not much then to get excited about?

Beachcombing can only speak for himself, but he would trade an evening in the woods of Shincliffe holding a torch with dodgy batteries for yet another tiresome read of Beowulf. It would certainly be good for his adrenalin and he likes the idea of a Northumbrian Blair Witch Project.

Beachcombing is not a believer in ghosts, but he is struck by how often ghostly legends stick to one locale. And he also has a short file of Anglo-Saxon precedents for long-lasting, Beachcombing will call them, ’hauntings’. Beachcombing has, however, been unable to find any evidence of a ghost legend in this part of the world. Any help from those who have actually been to Shincliffe? Or any other ancient haunted locatons evinced by names? drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com

Beachcombing apologises that he didn’t think to put this online at Halloween when Little Miss B was being woken up by trick and treaters. He would also like to note to any Shincliffers who pass by that – on the basis of google earth and large scale maps – he happens to think that they live in a beautiful part of the country.