Occasional humor in scholarly works

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George Somsel | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Jul 30 2016 11:27 AM

It has been objected that it would be more credible that the dying Calvin would have bequeathed a golden dress to the mother of God than that Paul should have entered upon this action.

Reidar Hvalvik, “Paul as a Jewish Believer—According to the Book of Acts,” in Jewish Believers in Jesus: The Early Centuries, ed. Oskar Skarsaune (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2007), 142.


יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 30 2016 12:11 PM

Big Smile

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 30 2016 6:33 PM
I don't get it 🤔
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George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 30 2016 6:41 PM

I don't get it 🤔

Calvin (and other Reformers) did not reverence Mary as does the Catholic Church.  


יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

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Sean | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 31 2016 1:46 AM

There's more humor there than many might suspect, though at the moment the only one I recall is Irenaeus, he's pretty hard to beat (AH 1.11.4):

Iu, Iu! Pheu, Pheu!—for well may we utter these tragic exclamations at such a pitch of audacity in the coining of names as he has displayed without a blush, in devising a nomenclature for his system of falsehood. For when he declares: There is a certain Proarche before all things, surpassing all thought, whom I call Monotes; and again, with this Monotes there co-exists a power which I also call Henotes,—it is most manifest that he confesses the things which have been said to be his own invention, and that he himself has given names to his scheme of things, which had never been previously suggested by any other. It is manifest also, that he himself is the one who has had sufficient audacity to coin these names; so that, unlesshe had appeared in the world, the truth would still have been destitute of a name. But, in that case, nothing hinders any other, in dealing with the same subject, to affix names after such a fashion as the following: There5 is a certain Proarche, royal, surpassing all thought, a power existing before every other substance, and extended into space in every direction. But along with it there exists a power which I term a Gourd; and along with this Gourd there exists a power which again I term Utter-Emptiness. This Gourd and Emptiness, since they are one, produced (and yet did not simply produce, so as to be apart from themselves) a fruit, everywhere visible, eatable, and delicious, which fruit-language calls a Cucumber. Along with this Cucumber exists a power of the same essence, which again I call a Melon. These powers, the Gourd, Utter-Emptiness, the Cucumber, and the Melon, brought forth the remaining multitude of the delirious melons of Valentinus.1 For if it is fitting that that language which is used respecting the universe be transformed to the primary Tetrad, and if any one may assign names at his pleasure, who shall prevent us from adopting these names, as being much more credible [than the others], as well as in general use, and understood by all?

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 31 2016 2:04 AM

I rather like this:

It's from "Stats: Modeling the World," Bock, D. E, (Pearson, 2009).

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Allen Browne | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 31 2016 3:44 AM

Good pickup, Mark.

And from a paper book.

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Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 31 2016 4:35 AM

When I was in Seminary, there was Systematic/Dogmatic Theology text that we nicknamed "Big Damn Book". Someone did write a paper where he defined the abbreviation "BDB" for references to it. The TA was in on the joke. The Prof. however... A Chemistry classmate I had from when I was an undergraduate wrote a paper in a peer reviewed journal after she got her PhD. with the title"Sometimes Size does Matter" - which really did not surprise me at all because I remember some of her pornographic Chemistry and Physics doodles...

And yes, the Church Fathers had all kinds of humor - and Luther had quite a bit of humor as well. That is one thing that makes them interesting.

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Lew Worthington | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 31 2016 9:47 AM

When I was a grad student in chemistry, my research involved a technique that is now usually called "cross-polarization" (CP), which is useful when doing solid-state NMR. There was an alternative acronym that was oddly more precise that I'm sure came about because someone thought it would be a funny acronym. But if you want to know what that other acronym was, look it up. Stick out tongue We submitted a couple papers using that technique.


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