Category Archives: Current Event

The Pope in the Bible

Tomorrow, Pope Benedict XVI will step down as the head of the Rombenedictan Catholic Church, the first pope to step down in hundreds of years. For Roman Catholics, it’s difficult to overstate the importance of this event. Does it herald in a new era when popes will retire gracefully, rather than die in office? Will March bring in a pope that isn’t European? The possibilities are endless, though most likely the cardinals will select another pope not too unlike the previous 200+ of them.

I was raised Roman Catholic and while these events no longer impact my faith directly, it has inspired me to look back and relearn the biblical origins of the papacy. While Protestants and Orthodox Christians disagree, Roman Catholics trace the office of the pontiff all the way back to St. Peter, on the explicit instruction of Jesus himself. And did you know there is not just one, but two popes mentioned in the bible? Read on for more.

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When Mr. Spock meets Moses?

I’m not one to advertise things, but I saw this and needed to share. I’ve commented before on how much of a sci-fi fan I am (especially Doctor Who– just can’t get enough of that show) and so to mix my two favorite topics would be a dream come true:

The Final Frontier: How Science Fiction Can Teach Us Jewish Philosophy
With Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz
Begins Sunday, October 7, 2012 through Nov 18.
Sundays, 9:15 am – 10:15 am – First Semester
Free for CBS Members $36 Non Members

Registration Required

Join Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz as we boldly go where no one has gone before… as we explore Science Fiction TV episodes and their surprising connection to Jewish thought. Who are we? Why are we here? What is the soul? What is the source of Good and Evil in the world?  We’ll explore these questions and more as we travel several million light years together. No previous knowledge of Sci-Fi required!

This is at Congregation B’nai Shalom in Westborough, MA. Address is in the above link.

To be clear: I have never been to this schule (and can I really commute 45 minutes on a Sunday morning?), but for any Boston-based Jewish geeks out there, this may be for you.

The Bible and the Buffett Rule

As research for possible future posts, I’ve been examining money matters in the bible: how money is used, what it’s worth, taxation, and tithing. The bible says a surprising amount about money and I’m enjoying the nuances between some of the Old and New Testament ideas. If you’re crazy like I am, it’s fantastic reading.

As we enter an election season in the US, tax reform is a topic that keeps coming up. One of the reforms proposed is the so-called “Buffett Rule“. Named for billionaire Warren Buffett, it centers on the idea that the wealthy shouldn’t pay less in taxes (as a percentage) than those in the lower classes. It’s an important idea and one that has many ramifications, but if you want to learn about them I recommend finding a good economics blog.

The question that I had never thought to ask was, “Does the bible support unequal taxation of the rich and poor?” Until today.

Read on for the answer.

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New Roman Missal Translation

Translation is a difficult business with religion and it’s something I spend a great deal of time thinking about. The words we use in English are only pale translations of the Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, or Latin originals. We trust that great scholars put together these translations and yet what we are left with is many approximations of the original source texts. As scholarship continues, these translations get better and better in some ways, but choices are always made: do you keep the meter of the poetry or the meaning? Wordplay is lost. Balances must be struck between technical accuracy and understandable English. Do you use an exact uncommon word? Or a close-enough common one?

This weekend, this challenge will be understood first-hand by English speaking Roman Catholics in the United States. For the first time, a new translation of the liturgy will be used in services. This new Third Edition of the Roman Missal, first established by Pope Paul IV in 1970, includes many changes which are intended to bring the words closer to their meaning in the original Latin.

The downside? More difficult vocabulary. Do you know what “consubstantial” means? Me, neither. Read on for more!

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