polygamy

Xerxes’ Wife

I’ve been particularly interested recently in Ancient Near Eastern history, and in particular how the Old Testament interacts with its context.  I have been repeatedly told by academics and intellectuals – including some Christians! – that the Old Testament is just a collection of myths and fictions with no connection to what really happened.  This seemed fishy to me.  So I’ve been digging over the past few months, and found many more connections even than I expected to find.  One, which illustrates the challenges and the possibilities, is the question of the wife of the Achaemenid Persian shah Xerxes I (r. 486-465). (more…)

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Gay Marriage Debates: Fallacious Arguments

The US Supreme Court has announced it will finally decide the question of gay marriage for the whole country.  This promises to be a landmark case as significant, and as controversial, as the 1973 decision Roe v. Wade.  Both liberals and conservatives reportedly cheered the decision, and are readying their best arguments.  Some might call me a cynic, but I’d be a whole lot happier if I thought any of the arguments on either side might be anything other than fallacious preaching to the choir, and each of the justices already knows where they sing.  (If the justices on the Supreme Court are supposed to be non-partisan, why do they almost always divide the same way along the same partisan issues?)  Here I present a couple common arguments on both sides, and why they don’t work. (more…)