April 2011

The AeroPress is a relatively new (2005) innovation in coffee making.  I love it, with little effort and half a minute you can have a really smooth and rich tasting coffee.  Hot water and coffee grounds are mixed together for ten seconds.  Then gentle air pressure pushes the mix through a micro-filter in 20 seconds.  The clean-up is simple as well – push the used grounds into the compost box and rinse the aeropress under the tap.

The reviews seem to be unanimously positive.

“I’d say AeroPress is midway between filter and French press, … It has all the advantages of both, but none of the disadvantages. It extracts the coffee oils like a French press but removes the grit, and it captures the clean, bright flavours of a filter brewer. It’s fantastic!”  James Phillips

Here are two different ways of using the aeropress –

The standard method:

Or the cool method (inversion):


Happy Easter Everyone.

N. T. Wright seminar: Can a Scientist Believe in the Resurrection

Matt J. Rossano article in the Huffingtonpost: Does Resurrection Contradict Science?

The Empty Tomb by Dr. He Qi

“For Jesus’ followers, Friday was the crucifixion, Saturday was the time of tears and uncertainty, Sunday was the resurrection.  Faith confesses that the resurrection already happened.  And yet it seems faith also leaves us in a perpetual Saturday – when the suffering (of people and thus of God) of the crucifixion stays just as near to us as the promise of resurrection.  Sunday, we believe, is coming.  But meanwhile, we are not left trying to live faithfully in this Saturday of Tears?”  Kent Annan in After Shock

“A weak tree carried Him who carries heaven and earth”

Quoted from the Ethiopian Orthodox liturgy (you can find a complete English translate here).

The art work is taken from Stushie’s art.

or should that be Wednesday!?

Sir Colin Humphreys a Material Science Professor at Cambridge University claims discrepancies in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke as compared with John arose because they used an older calendar than the official Jewish one.  He suggests, therefore, that the Last Supper was on Wednesday, 1 April AD33, according to todays standard Julian calendar.

The synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) clearly state that the last supper was a passover meal (e.g. Matthew 26, Mark 14 and Luke 22), whereas John’s gospel makes clear that the last supper was the day before passover (e.g. John 13) – thus having Jesus crucified when the passover lambs are slaughtered.

The way I understand Prof. Humphreys findings is that Jesus and his disciples were eating a passover meal a day before the widly accepted date at the time (preferring an old adapted Egyptian calender dating to the time of Moses).  This type of phenomena may not be unheard of, for example, the Qumran community of the dead sea scrolls advocated yet another calendar and thus also celebrating passover on an alternative date.

A full account is given in his new book The Mystery of the Last Supper: Reconstructing the Final Days of Jesus and a shortened article in The Bible and Interpretation or alternatively read the reports on the BBC and in the Guardian.

Update: A brief critic is provided by NTBlog (based on the press releases and summary articles).

Further update: Two scholarly reviews of the book have been published by Review of Biblical Literature and are available online here.

Professor Humphreys is not a new comer to this kind of activity, previously he has used astronomy, science and textual methods to determine the dates of Jesus’ birth and the crucifixion, as well as ‘explanations’ of the Exodus miracles and the star of Bethlehem.  You can find audio seminars/lectures by him on some of these matters at The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion and I give a list of his publications in Science and Religion below.

  • Humphreys, C.J. and Waddington, W.G.-“Dating the Crucifixion” Nature, 306, 743-746, 1983.
  • Humphreys, C.J. – “The Star of Bethlehem – A Comet in 5 BC – and the date of the birth of Christ” Q.Jl. R. Astr. Soc., 32, 1991, 389-407.
  • Humphreys, C.J. – “The Star of Bethlehem – A Comet in 5 BC – and the date of Christ’s birth”. Tyndale Bulletin, 43, 1992, 32-56
  • Humphreys, C.J. and Waddington, W.G. – “The Jewish Calendar, a lunar eclipse and the date of Christ’s Crucifixion”, Tyndale Bulletin, 43, 1992, 331-351.
  • Humphreys, C.J. – “The Star of Bethlehem”, Science & Christian Belief, 1993, 5, 83-101.
  • Humphreys, C.J. and White R.J. – “The eruption of Santorini and the date and historicity of Joseph”. Science and Christian Belief, 7, 1995, 151-162
  • Humphreys, C.J. – “The number of people in the Exodus from Egypt: decoding mathematically the very large numbers in Numbers I and XXVI”, Vestus Tesatmentum XLVIII, 1998, 196-213.
  • Humphreys, C.J. – “How Many People Were in the Exodus from Egypt?” Science & Christian Belief, 2000, 12, 17-34
  • Humphreys, C.J. – “The numbers in the Exodus from Egypt: a further appraisal”. Vetus Testamentum, 50, 2000, 323-328.
  • Humphreys, C.J. – “How many thousands did Moses pilot across the Red Sea?” Manna, 69, 2000, 20-21.
  • Humphreys, C.J. – “The Miracles of Exodus – A Scientist’s Discovery of the Extraordinary Natural Causes Underlying the Biblical Stories”, 362 pages, Harper San Francisco, USA, and Continuum, UK, 2003, hardback and 2004 paperback..

The Biblegateway.com blog has put together a timeline of events in the life of Jesus during holy week.  An interesting idea, to me it looks like a London underground style map.  Click on the image below to take a look.

Today I discovered about Launcelot Fleming – an eminent Glaciologist who become the Anglican Bishop of Portsmouth (and later Bishop of Norwich).  I was reading a recent article about the history of the Journal of Glaciology, which was first published in January 1947, the Editorial Committee at that time included a Launcelot Fleming.

“Launcelot Fleming was a geologist and also an Anglican priest. At Sir Vivian Fuchs’s suggestion he had been on an expedition to study Vatnajokull in Iceland led by Brian Roberts in 1932 and also on an expedition to study the Ny Friesland ice cap in Svalbard led by A.R. Glen. He had also been a member of the British Graham Land Expedition 1934–37, the first major British expedition since Scott’s last journey in 1911. He was also active in ASSI [Association for the Study of Snow and Ice, later to become the British Glaciological Society, now called the International Glaciological Society], as its publications record.  He was subsequently Dean of Trinity Hall in Cambridge and Bishop of Portsmouth.”

J. W. Glen, The Journal of Glaciology: its origin and early history, J. Glaciol., 56(200), 941-943, 2010.

Reading his wikipedia page and whoswho entry reveals he graduated in Geology from Cambridge University in 1928 before undertaking further study at Yale University as a Commonwealth Fund Fellow (1929–31).  He was ordained as a priest in 1934.  His early years were spent as chaplain to successive Antarctic expeditions, for which he was awarded the Polar Medal (awarded for extreme human endeavour against the appalling weather and conditions that exist in the Arctic and Antarctic) in 1937.  He served as Director of Scott Polar Research Institute between 1937 and 1949.  In 1949 he became Bishop of Portsmouth, transferring Sees in 1959 to become Bishop of Norwich.  Here is what wikipedia says about him:

A great gift for friendship made him outstandingly effective pastorally; he genuinely cared about people. Although Fleming became a bishop without parochial experience or any great gift for preaching, his unassuming friendliness and humility won over clergy and laity. Portsmouth became an exceptionally well-run diocese, with more than its share of young clergy and ordinands. Norwich, with 650 churches and a shortage of clergy, presented greater problems; he tackled them resolutely and imaginatively, developing rural group ministries and again attracting good clergy. He also played a significant part in planning the University of East Anglia (which, unusually, has its own university chapel). He was an uncanny judge of character, excellent in one-to-one situations. His desk might have looked chaotic, but he was a shrewd administrator with a clear grasp of priorities. A remarkable rapport with young people led to his being made chairman of the Church of England Youth Council (1950–61). Struck by a rare spinal disorder, which seriously affected both legs, he resigned the see in 1971.

An eternally enthusiastic man, in 1960 he realized a lifetimes ambition to ride on the footplate of a train and in 1965, at the comparatively advanced age of 58 married Jane Agutter, widow of Anthony Agutter and daughter of Henry Machen, landowner. It was a happy marriage which lasted for twenty-five years but produced no children.

In 1968, most unusually for a bishop, Fleming piloted a bill (the Antarctic treaty) through the House of Lords. Well informed on environmental and ecological issues (he was a pre-war glaciologist of repute), he constantly urged responsible stewardship of the world (his maiden speech in the House of Lords was about cruelty to whales), and the need for international co-operation. He became vice-chairman (1969–71) of the parliamentary group for world government, and a member of the government Standing Advisory Committee on Environmental Pollution (1970–73). At Windsor, he consolidated the reputation of St George’s House. His influence on church policy would have been greater but for synodical government: off-the-cuff debate was not his forte.

On resigning his Bishopric, Fleming was appointed the Queen’s domestic chaplain and Dean of Windsor, in which capacity he officiated at the funeral of the Duke of Windsor. In 1976 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of East Anglia for his work with young people. He retired to Dorset and died in Sherborne on 30 July 1990. He was cremated and his ashes were interred in the churchyard of All Saints’ Church, Poyntington.

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