The front side (recto) of Papyrus 1, a New Testament manuscript of the Gospel of Matthew. Most likely originated in Egypt. Also part of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri (P. oxy. 2).
Dr. Bryant G. Wood recently presented lectures on “Archaeology and the Conquest: New Evidence on an Old Problem.” Wood is editor of Bible and Spade, and director of the Excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir (suggested as a possible site for Biblical Ai). Four separate talks cover:
- Background and Chronology of the Exodus and Conquest
- Digging Up the Truth at Jericho
- The Discovery of Joshua’s Ai
- Great Archaeological Discoveries Related to the Old Testament
Alexander Pruss points to a new blog on the philosophy of cosmology.
Daniel Wallace and Bart Ehrman debate on the topic: “Is the original New Testament lost?”
A new article on “Platonism and Theism” is up at the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Alvin Plantinga lectures on “Religion and Science: Why Does the Debate Continue?” at Rainier Beach Presbyterian Church in Seattle Washington
Craig Blomberg writes on “Jesus of Nazareth: How Historians Can Know Him and Why It Matters” (PDF).
Peter S. Williams engages with the question “Can Moral Objectivism Do Without God?”
In my view, this is a compelling argument. Richard Swinburne gives an argument from beauty in chapter 6 of his book The Existence of God.
Dr. Pruss distinguishes four varieties:
The argument from beauty, it seems to me, can come in four varieties, each asking a different “why” question, and each claiming that the best answer entails the existence of a being like God.
1. Why is there such a property as beauty?
This argument is the aesthetic parallel to the standard argument from morality. For it to work, a distinctively theistic answer to (1) must be offered. Parallel to a divine command metaethics, one could offer a divine appreciation meta-aesthetics. I think this gets the direction of explanation wrong—God appreciates beautiful things because they are beautiful. Moreover, if what God appreciates does not modally supervene on how non-divine things are, then divine simplicity will be violated. A better answer is that beautiful things are all things that reflect God in some particular respect, a respect that perhaps cannot be specified better than as that respect in which beautiful things reflect him (I think this is not a vicious circularity).
2. Why are there so many beautiful things?
The laws of physics, biology, etc. do not mention beauty. As far as these laws are concerned, beauty, if there is such a thing, is epiphenomenal. So, it does not seem that a scientific explanation of the existence of beautiful things can be given. But, perhaps, a philosophical account could be given of how, of metaphysical necessity, such-and-such physical states are always beautiful, and maybe then we can explain these entailing states physically. Or maybe one can show philosophically that, necessarily, most random configurations of matter include significant amounts of beauty, and then a statistical explanation can be given. But all that is pie in the sky, while a theistic explanation is right at hand. (Continue)
Recent PhDs and current graduate students are invited to apply to participate in the 2010 St. Thomas Summer Seminar in Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology, a three-week long seminar organized by Dean Zimmerman (Rutgers) and Michael Rota (University of St. Thomas). The seminar will be held at the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, Minnesota, from June 15th to July 2nd, 2010.
Topics and speakers:
The epistemology of religious belief: Alvin Plantinga (Notre Dame) and Richard Feldman (Rochester)
Science and religion: Alvin Plantinga and Elliott Sober (UW-Madison)
The cosmological argument: Alexander Pruss (Baylor) and Peter van Inwagen (Notre Dame)
The problem of evil: Peter van Inwagen and Evan Fales (University of Iowa)
The epistemology of disagreement: Roger White (M.I.T.) and Thomas Kelly (Princeton)
Reductionism and the philosophy of biology: Alan Love (University of Minnesota)
Writing for audiences outside the academy: Peter Kreeft (Boston College)
Participants will receive a stipend of $2800, as well as room and board. The deadline for receipt of applications is December 1, 2009.
For more information, including information on how to apply, go to
This seminar program is funded by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
(Via Society of Christian Philosophers)