Thursday, January 11, 2024

The Edge Of Reality

I recently read a new edition of The Edge Of Reality (Newburyport, Massachusetts: MUFON, 2023). It originally came out in 1975. It's largely a record of some discussions about UFOs between two of the foremost researchers in the field, J. Allen Hynek and Jacques Vallee. I didn't read the 1975 version, and I don't know how different the update is. I think it's the same or almost the same aside from a new foreword (by Hynek's son) and a new introduction (by Vallee). The bulk of it doesn't discuss the developments of the last half century, since it was published so long ago, but it has a lot of relevance and significance anyway. I still think the best overall introduction to the topic that I've read is Leslie Kean's UFOs: Generals, Pilots, And Government Officials Go On The Record (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2010). The Edge Of Reality is a good supplement to Kean's book. It addresses a lot of issues not covered or not covered as much by Kean, like issues of interpretation and the history of research. And it's written by two giants in the field whose experience and inside knowledge are more significant than Kean's. Hynek has a lot to say about his experiences with the United States' government's incompetence and corruption in handling UFO issues, for example. The book covers a wide range of subjects related to UFOs, though their comments are often brief. Vallee (rightly) rejected the extraterrestrial explanation for UFOs, and Hynek seems to me to have leaned in that direction as well. He gives some attention to views like mine, that UFOs are produced by human paranormal activity. He even draws a comparison to poltergeists at times, as I have. Neither Hynek nor Vallee goes into as much depth as I'd like about these issues, but there's a lot that's helpful in what they do say.

Another book by Vallee, Dimensions (San Antonio, Texas: Anomalist Books, 2008), opens with a dedication to his friend:

This book is dedicated to the memory of Dr. J. Allen Hynek.

As a scientist, he was the first to grasp the significance of the problem. As a thinker, he understood its relationship to other deep mysteries that surround us. As a teacher, he shared freely his data and his insights.

As a man, he wondered.

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

What would be the significance of the gospel authors' illiteracy, lack of literary experience, etc.?

It's often suggested that the illiteracy or low level of literacy of the large majority of individuals in the ancient world is evidence against the traditional authorship attributions of the gospels. There are a lot of problems with that objection. We have information about people like Matthew and John that puts them well above the average person in antiquity. For example, not only was John an apostle, which would have provided him with far more motivation than the average person would have had to become more educated, but we also have good evidence that he lived an unusually long time and had a role as a sort of patriarchal figure toward the end of his life. Then there's the fact that there are widespread reports in antiquity that John did compose some documents, which is further evidence we have to take into account rather than just going by how many people in general would be able to produce such a document, how many fishermen in general would be able to, etc. We have much more than such statistics to go by.

Sunday, January 07, 2024

Updated Recommendations For Bible Study Resources

Denver Seminary has published the 2024 update for their Old Testament bibliography, and the updated New Testament bibliography is here. Steve Hays kept a bibliography of his own until shortly before his death in 2020. You can find it here. One of the resources he recommended was the Best Commentaries site.

I noticed that Craig Blomberg's New Testament list for Denver Seminary mentions his new commentary on Matthew as coming out this year. I haven't seen it at Amazon yet, but Blomberg's in a good position to know when it should be out.