Month: February 2015

Trinitarianism in Second Temple Judaism

I’m currently reading Alan Segal’s Two Powers in Heaven in which he argues that certain strains of Jewish theology during the Second Temple and Rabbinic periods believed in multiple divine figures — divine hypostases — which was perceived by some as violating the standard of traditional monotheism. Next semester I hope to do my final research project on the development of Trinitarian thinking during this time, indicating that it was not at all a uniquely Christian invention, but had its roots in a variety of Judaic traditions, such as Philo’s Logos doctrine, second God, and divine triad. Michael Heiser has a nice, small article with a couple good links that I’m quite pleased to have found.


The Exodus and the Hyksos

I find it exceedingly difficult not to associate the biblical Exodus story with the Hyksos expulsion of the 16th century B.C. since there is, admittedly, no evidence for either of the traditional dates ca. 1440 or 1250 B.C. and otherwise no data indicating a mass exodus of Semitic peoples from the Levant (not to mention the fact that virtually every ancient writer conflated the two events). Dr. Stephen Meyers makes one of the more compelling cases for this and addresses quite competently the most frequent objection that a Hyksos association falls outside the scope of Solomon’s 480 year statement at the temple dedication. Besides that, the only other complaints, as far as I can tell, rest on assumptions that may or may not actually be the case. Yes, the records do suggest that Ahmose forcefully expelled the Hyksos, while the biblical account indicates that the Hebrews escaped by divine intervention; but why must we accept either of these sources as entirely accurate, historically speaking? One could go in a variety of ways, after all. Nationalism often led Egyptian rulers to stretch the truth so as to appear in a more favorable light, while the Hebrews could have easily downplayed the political turmoil and their initial desire to stay by interpreting the past theologically as Yahweh’s blessing of deliverance. At any rate, I don’t think there’s any serious reason that scholars should avoid this and I find it baffling that so many don’t even give it consideration.

Why Idris Elba Will Not Be the Next Bond

Just remember, while everyone out there is clamoring on about Idris Elba as the next James Bond, you heard it here first: not gonna happen. It’s nothing against the man himself or his skill as a performer, mind you, since he’s perfectly capable and would, no doubt, be a fine candidate for the role. Practically, however, there really isn’t any reason to suppose that he will, in fact, be chosen as Daniel Craig’s successor. Let me explain.

1. He’s Too Old

One of the recurring themes in Skyfall was Bond’s age, which, while certainly symbolic of MI6 as a rusty and archaic organization more suited to Cold-War era espionage, was a significant factor in 007’s performance as an agent and in the eyes of his superiors. Though it is true that an actor’s age is not necessarily the same as his character’s, it has to be pointed out that Craig was only 43-44 when this was filmed and is currently 46 with probably another 2 or 3 years under his belt. Right now Idris is 42 and wouldn’t likely take over for at least another 4 years, meaning that he’ll be starting his tenure at 46, giving him and the producers a rather limited time frame in which to film the movies. And let’s not forget the body. Ever since we’ve been exposed to Mr. Craig’s chiseled physique and frame fit for a soldier, it’s hard to imagine a secret agent looking any differently; and from what I’m told, the closer one gets to 50, the harder it is to maintain such an athletic image.

2. A Black Bond Wouldn’t Fly in Asian Markets

I know. I know. It sounds incredibly racist, but don’t blame me. I’m just the messenger. For quite some time it has been well-known, and observed most recently via the Sony hacks, that black actors just don’t fare very well overseas; and with John Cleese’s lament that 007’s campy British humor has been toned down so as to accommodate eastern audiences, it becomes evident that there is a real possibility that the executives are trying to make the franchise more popular worldwide and increase viewership, particularly in countries such as Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, etc. So, as horrible as it sounds, choosing an actor like Mr. Elba would not likely be a very wise business move if the goal is to expand the fan base globally. Here’s an idea, though: why not recruit a South Asian actor? Not only is there an enormous Indian/Pakistani population in England, making it believable that MI6 would have individuals from that background on board, but the turmoil in South and West Asia makes it an ideal location for Bond stories to take place and an ideal location for a Bond with such a heritage to fit in.

3. They’ve Already Chosen the Next Actor

Okay, this isn’t entirely true; but the only reason Henry Cavill was turned down back in 2004 is because, at the time, he was far too young — a youthful 23. Admittedly I can’t say if the producers and the Broccoli family still want him to play the role, but we do know that he still wants to play it, so at this point I see no reason to assume that this won’t happen. It’s an assumption, for sure; but I think it’s a fair one, and I suspect Superman will be wearing a tux ca. 2019.

Maybe I’m getting ahead of things, though. We still have two more movies with Daniel, so why not just sit back and enjoy the ride?