See the First Photographs Ever Taken of Jerusalem | Smart News | Smithsonian

J'lem-Smithsonian-34.jpg.800x0_q85_cropSee the First Photographs Ever Taken of Jerusalem | Smart News | Smithsonian.


A Hymn For Today — Thine Is the Glory

Thine is the glory, risen, conqu’ring Son;
Endless is the vict’ry Thou o’er death hast won;
Angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,
Kept the folded grave clothes where Thy body lay.

Lo! Jesus meets thee, risen from the tomb;
Lovingly He greets thee, scatters fear and gloom;
Let His church with gladness hymns of triumph sing,
For her Lord now liveth; death hath lost its sting.

No more we doubt Thee, glorious Prince of life;
Life is naught without Thee; aid us in our strife;
Make us more than conqu’rors through Thy deathless love:
Bring us safe through Jordan to Thy home above.

Thine is the glory, risen conqu’ring Son;
Endless is the vict’ry Thou o’er death hast won. – Edmond L. Budry, 1884
trans. Richard B. Hoyle, 1923

Tune: MACCABEUS – George F. Handel, 1746
arr. Butt’s Harmonia Sacra, 1760

#255 in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, 2012

Footnote 29 — Alistair Cooke, America: A Personal History (1973)

Footnote 29 — Alistair Cooke, America: A Personal History (New York: Basic Books, 1973)

Since I first heard it decades ago, I have been intrigued by the unique perspective, colorfully describing aspects of the American Revolution by Alistair Cooke, BBC and British newspaper correspondent (and, later, host of Masterpiece Theatre). Cooke came to the USA in 1932 on a fellowship to Yale after graduating Cambridge, married a descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson, became an American citizen on 1 December 1941, and stayed, for the most part, from the Great Depression until his death in 2005.  Cooke toured the US by automobile many times seeking stories to explain to British subjects the enigmatic behaviors of their American cousins, attempting to bridge the chasm described in George Bernard Shaw’s memorable depiction (later borrowed famously by Sir Winston Churchill) of the British and Americans as “one people separated by a common language.”  Cooke’s 13-part television series, The Americans (1973), was accompanied by a book, from which the following passage is excerpted.

“We should not forget that for quite a time the rebels thought of themselves as Englishmen abused, and in many engagements felt an uncomfortable sympathy for the Englishmen sent over to fight them.  In Ridgefield, Connecticut, there is a plaque sunk in the wall of a cemetery.  It says:  ‘In defense of American independence at the Battle of Ridgefield, April 27th, 1777, died Eight Patriots who were laid in this ground, Companioned by Sixteen British  soldiers, Living, their enemies, Dying, their guests.’

“The British arrived as a professional army expecting, with companies of German mercenaries, to fight European set battles. Not enough of them had learned, at first or second hand, the lessons of the French and Indian Wars.  The Americans were at once too shrewd and too untrained to oblige them with an old world war. First of all, as John Adams said, the colonial population divided up into one third that took to arms, one third that was either openly or secretly loyal to the British, and one third that didn’t give a damn – not the best recipe for a disciplined national army.  

      “So against the army of British regulars there stood – besides some French volunteers, immensely valuable as professionals at the start – mainly a large, improvised force of farmers, mechanics, tradesmen, parsons, lawyers, grocers, hunters, trappers, con men, thieves, and hoodlums. ‘Never,’ their sorrowing commander was to lament when the going was bad, ‘such a rabble dignified by the name of army.’  How could they hold off for six years, much less defeat, one of the crack armies of Europe?

     “For one thing, there was weaponry.  The British army for the most part used smooth-bore muskets that allowed a lateral error of three feet at a hundred yards range.  The British infantryman was not trained to pick off single targets; he stood shoulder to shoulder with his fellows and they sprayed, shall we say, in the general direction of the enemy!  The Americans had smooth-bore muskets too, but as the war moved into the interior the British came up against the frontiersmen, who did not use guns for sport.  Their very existence depended on shooting their food on the wing and saving their families by picking off Indians in night raids. They needed a weapon that was light and accurate, and found it in the Pennsylvania flintlock, developed for them by German settlers in Pennsylvania who doubled the length of the barrel and grooved it make the bullet spin and stay on line…

        “At long range, this weapon did bloody damage to shoulder-to-shoulder infantry.  A Pennsylvania Tory who had seen it at work wrote a letter to a London newspaper offering rather chill advice: ‘This province has raised a thousand riflemen, the worst of whom will put a rifle ball in man’s head at a hundred and fifty or two hundred yards.  Therefore, advise your officers who shall hereafter come out to America to settle their affairs in England before their departure.’  This reputation for sharpshooting was magnified in England into a witch’s curse, and there were some lively desertions among men drafted for service in the Colonies.  It is, on the whole, and all-too-true American myth:  that legendary reputation for spotting the bull’s eye which began with the embattled farmers and was sustained down through the next century and a half by Wyatt Earp, Wild Bill Hickok, Annie Oakley, and Sergeant York…

     “A British commander sent home a short report that was read in the House of Commons.  The gist of it was: ‘The Americans will not stand and fight.” They were jack-in-the-box guerillas who would fight like devils for a day and a night and then go home and harvest their crops on the weekend.  They would return, not always in any discernible formation, and after a swift onslaught vanish into the country by night, and then again at some unpredictable time come whizzing in like hornets.  What baffled and eventually broke the British was what broke the Roman armies in their late campaigns against the barbarians, and for so long frustrated the Americans in Vietnam. …. [A]s William Pitt sadly commented, looking at his drawn lines on an alien wilderness: ‘You cannot conquer a map.’

Footnote 28 — Reading Biblical Narrative – Jan P. Fokkelman

Footnote 28 — Jan P. Fokkelman, Reading Biblical Narrative: An Introductory Guide (Westminster John Knox Press, 2000; trans. Ineke Smit), pp. 21-22.

“As the meaning of a text is only realized through the mediation of the reader, our responsibility for its meaning is greater than the text’s own.  Moreover, this meaning is realized in the here and now; we confer meaning around the year 2000, not in 800 or 500 BCE. This may seem obvious, but it needs to be stated clearly.  The effect of bestowing meaning on one’s own readings and interpretations has hardly, if at all, been taken into account by established Bible scholarship (the so-called historical-critical school), which assumes its own attitude to be self-evident. This approach sets out to ‘understand the Bible texts within the framework of their own time,’ according to the slogan characteristic of these scholars. This attitude conveys a totally different message: the text comes from far away, dates from a long time ago, and is rooted in a radically different culture.  Thus, there is a three-fold alienation which has discouraged many Bible readers, students of theology, and future preachers.

“It is true that the text of the Bible comes from the Near East, that it is almost 2000 to 3000 years old, and that it originated in a culture which differed greatly from ours, both materially and spiritually. These differences should not be underestimated; yet these distances are only half-truths, and if you treat them as unshakeable axioms they will quietly turn into lies and optical illusions. There is a greater, more important truth, which is that these texts are well-written.  IF they are then so fortunate as to meet a good listener, they will come into their own without having to be pushed into the compartments ‘far away,’ ‘long ago’ and ‘very different.’ As products of a deliberate and meticulous designing intelligence they have been crafted to speak for themselves, provided there is a competent reader listening closely.

“It is only natural that the Bible text should have quickly freed itself from its origin.  The current rather infelicitous phrase is that the text has been decontextualized: maker, audience, and context have long been lost.  Of course, the writers knew that this was to be the fate of their stories, laws and poems – assuming for the moment that they were not born yesterday. Reading the Bible ‘within the setting of its own time?’ A lofty goal, but in the first place this is a perilous enterprise since the setting is not there any more – it was lost about two thousand years ago. Secondly, it is hardly a viable undertaking, as we are not Israelites. The publication of a text implies that its umbilical cord has been cut; from then on, it is on its own.  Now, good texts can indeed manage alone, as from the beginning they have been designed to outlive their birth and original context by a long way.  The writer knows that he cannot always accompany his text to provide explanations, clear up misunderstandings, etc. He has to let go of his product completely; he should leave it to his poem or story to take care of itself on its own.  So he decides to provide is text with the devices, signals, and shapes with which it can withstand the onslaught of time and guide the reading activities of the loyal listener.”

Battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky – January 19, 1862

Battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky – January 19, 1862

Among the casualties of the Battle of Mill Springs was Cpl. Joseph Timmons of the 10th Indiana – my maternal grandfather’s great-uncle.  The 10th Indiana fought alongside the 4th Kentucky, famously led by Col. Speed Smith Fry and recruited largely from the area around Danville, KY.  Fry was born near Danville, educated at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, and returned to Danville to practice law prior to the Civil War.  Fry ended the war a Major General (Brevet), and is buried in Danville’s Bellevue Cemetery.  Although disputed by some, Fry is credited in many early sources as personally killing General Felix Zollicoffer, a former newspaperman and three-term US Congressman from Columbia, Tennessee, and the commander of the Confederate forces at Mill Springs.  

Joseph Timmons was mortally wounded during the Battle, and died three weeks later. He is buried in the National Cemetery on the Battlefield.  These are personal details of long-ago historical “trivia” – unless the “trivia” affects your family, your grandfather, uncle, brother, with multi-generational impact.  On a broader scale, the Confederate retreat from Kentucky following the Battle of Mill Springs on January 19, coupled with Ulysses S. Grant’s conquest of Forts Henry and Donelson in western Kentucky on February 11-16, pushed Confederate forces out of Kentucky, allowed the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers to become superhighways deep into the Confederacy for Grant’s Union gunboats, and led to the occupation of Nashville by Union troops only a few weeks later. Of such “stuff” history is made.

Excerpts from the account at —

Kentucky Chaos



Felix Zollicoffer (Library of Congress)

Old ravines meandered through the chilly landscape.  They were filled with dense timber, the ground then rising sharply into scrubby hills, or leveling into farm fields with dark split rail fences.  Through it all ran the Cumberland River, much higher and faster than the man on the northern riverbank would like it to be.

Felix Zollicoffer was a dapper man, a former Tennessee journalist and U.S. Congressman who was not foreign to a pistol-duel.  He had briefly seen Indian combat as a militia captain in the 1840s.  That slim experience won him a brigadier general’s commission in the Confederate Army during the fledgling nation’s scramble to get on a war footing.  Here, in southeastern Kentucky in January, 1862, he was the right center of a Confederate strategic line that stretched from the Cumberland Gap to the Mississippi River.

More than 5,000 Southern soldiers were with him, scattered throughout the fortified winter camp that anxious locals referred to as “Zollicoffer’s Den.”  The camp sat in a horseshoe bend of the Cumberland River, surrounded by water on three sides with a 1,200-foot line of earthworks spanning the fourth.

His fleet sat near the riverbank: a small converted paddle-steamer, the Noble Ellis, and two wooden flat-boats.  Several other boats and a pontoon bridge had been swept away by a recent storm.  A few days later, Zollicoffer’s superior, Kentucky-born Maj. Gen. George B. Crittenden, had crossed the river to give Zollicoffer a sharp dressing-down.  The horseshoe bend was not a fortress, he declared, it was a trap.  He had in fact been captured in a similar situation during the Mexican War—nowhere to run with an unfordable river in the rear.


The strategic situation in January, 1862.  Kentucky’s proclaimed neutrality was first violated by the Confederate seizure of Columbus.  After the Battle of Mill Springs, Union forces would use the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers to penetrate central Tennessee.  (Library of Congress)

Zollicoffer conceded that ferrying 5,000 soldiers, 12 cannons and all of the army’s horses, wagons, and supplies across the Cumberland with only three rickety boats would be essentially impossible.  Union forces were in the area and the cavalry had been skirmishing on-and-off for days.  His position was well-known to the enemy.  Surely a withdrawal would be discovered and exploited.  The Confederate generals estimated that they were facing between 6,000-10,000 Nationals.  The thought of a surprise attack by a force that size in the middle of the ferrying operation, the 5,000 Confederates substantially divided on either side of the river with no quick way of crossing to help their comrades, was too bitter to contemplate.

They could continue to fortify—Zollicoffer had been working on that landward-facing line of earthworks during the winter.  But Crittenden strongly doubted their effectiveness.  Federals could still cross the river and bombard the Southerners from any direction they pleased, rendering the position fundamentally untenable.  Unable to move backward, unable to stay where they were, the generals turned their plans toward the attack.


Zollicoffer led from the front, giving most of his attention to the 19th Tennessee on the far left of his line, and was thus unable to coordinate an overwhelming, all-in-at-once assault that almost certainly would have broken through the Union roadblock on impact.  His remaining regimental commanders were left out of his sight and without specific orders, resulting in piecemeal attacks that did not take full advantage of the brigade’s numerical superiority.

The Federals held out for the better part of an hour before the Confederates managed to use nearby ravines to outflank the position.  They withdrew “Indian style,” falling back and firing from tree to tree, using the road as a guide, as more Union troops, Col. Speed S. Fry’s 4th Kentucky Volunteers, began to move to the front.

Fry’s Kentuckians met the 10th Indiana and 1st Kentucky Cavalry at the crest of a ridge just south of the main Federal campground.  240 Indianans formed a new line astride the road.  Fry’s 400 deployed behind a split rail fence on their left, facing a belt of cleared ground that dipped quickly into a wooded ravine before rising again into a scrubby ridge some 250 yards down-range.  The remaining cavalrymen formed in a cornfield on Fry’s left flank.


Confederate bullets began to pepper Fry’s position before the battle line was fully formed.  The 15th Mississippi pressed forward into the ravine while the 20th Tennessee kept up a covering fire from the ridge.  Unable to see anything more than scattered musket flashes through the fog, Fry ordered his men to advance over the fence and down the ravine slope.  The Confederate shooting intensified as the Federals moved into the open. Fry quickly realized that he was outnumbered and that behind the fence was a good place to be.  He directed a hasty withdrawal which his men executed in style.

Thinking that the withdrawal signified a disorderly retreat, the Mississippians in the ravine unsheathed their long cane-knives and charged uphill after the Kentuckians.  The limited visibility worked against them now, and they scrambled to within mere yards of the fence before the deafening boom of a Kentucky volley tore through the smoke and fog.  “Our bullets were sent with unerring aim — many rebels shot in the forehead, breast, and stomach,” remembered one Union infantryman.

The surviving Mississippians tumbled back into the ravine as Fry shouted exhortations to his men along the fence.  The 20th Tennessee began to move into the ravine as well, crouching and crawling to avoid the Federal fire.  At this, Fry climbed onto a fence rail and shook his fist at the Confederates, demanding that they stand and “come forward like men!”

The secessionists charged again, with portions of the 20th Tennessee sweeping eastward to strike the Union cavalrymen as the 15th Mississippi hit Fry’s infantry.  The attackers reached the split rails and for desperate moments the two sides poured point-blank musketry into each other from either side of the fence.  The Confederates fell back, reformed, charged again, and were repulsed again.  They took cover in the ravine and kept up a hot firefight with the Kentuckians.


Gen. Zollicoffer struggled to make headway against determined Union resistance.  (Hal Jespersen)


Gen. Zollicoffer was still hanging near the 19th Tennessee during the struggle for the fence.  The 19th was fighting the remnants of the 10th Indiana on the road, but the Southerners could barely see the force opposing them.  When a new group of men came into view roughly 100 yards ahead and to the right, Zollicoffer thought that they represented the left flank of the 15th Mississippi, although the direction of their shooting came dangerously close to the 19th Tennessee.  The general, concerned about friendly fire and perhaps recognizing that his offensive was sputtering, rode through the smoke to reconnect with the wayward regiment and renew the attack.

Speed Fry
Col. Speed Fry (Library of Congress)

The mysterious soldiers were not Mississippians—they belonged to Fry’s 4th Kentucky Volunteers.  Fry himself rode out to greet Zollicoffer, whose Confederate uniform was concealed by a long rain jacket.  Zollicoffer drew rein about thirty yards from the Union line and the two officers came so close that their knees touched.

“We must not shoot our own men,” Zollicoffer told the Union colonel.  Fry was plainly wearing a Federal uniform, but Zollicoffer was near-sighted.  Or perhaps he had realized his mistake, and was now bluffing for time.

“Of course not,” Fry replied, “I would not shoot our own men intentionally.”  He did not recognize Zollicoffer, but thought him to be an unmet officer from Sam Carter’s brigade, which had only recently arrived.

“Those are our own men.” Zollicoffer pointed towards the 19th Tennessee.

Now somewhat suspicious, Fry rode twenty or thirty yards past Zollicoffer to examine the situation for himself.  As he peered through the smoke, a Confederate staff officer dashed from behind a tree and called to Zollicoffer, “it’s the enemy, General!”

The unknown officer drew his pistol and shot Fry’s horse before turning to make his escape.  A Kentucky rifleman shot him down.  Zollicoffer pulled out his pistol and emptied it in Fry’s direction.  Unscathed, Fry shouted, “that’s your game, is it?” and returned fire with his Colt Navy .36, striking Zollicoffer in the chest.  Two more bullets from the Kentucky infantry killed him.

Read the complete article, with other maps and photos, at

The Potato Bug, William E. Barton

The Potato Bug, William E. Barton.

The Issue of Age in Modern Worship

HT for the link to this post to Samuel Mark Storrs, who says: “Are those who fought and ‘won’ the worship wars 20 years ago surprised when they fall victim?” Indeed, that is only one of many issues raised in the provocative meanderings of this essay (the age discrimination which plagues many churches would be an interesting rabbit to chase) — but let’s stick with this issue for now. Call it “chickens coming hime to roost” or whatever, but the blogger exposes a nerve: those who have lived by the trendy, hipster, cooler, more-spiritual-than-thou fad of the “era” (usually defined as about a decade or so) are discovering that one can as easily die that death as well. For those among “churches of Christ” who are usually years late to the party in terms of mimicking worship trends begun by others, the circle in many places also lags, but is beginning to come ’round. And for those even later to the dance (literally, in some cases) who nibble around the margins and have so far only put toes or feet in this pond, one wants to say: why not catch up and just jump in whole? If the desire is to be like the megachurches all around (or at least a mini-mega pale shadow of that blueprint) — go ahead and quit the pretense of being otherwise, or pretending to be “following the New Testament.” Declare your “brand” and pick your table — it’s a big cafeteria filled with as many choices as human ingenuity can concoct.

Adventures in Faith & Art

Worship Leader PurpleScenario 1: An unemployed worship pastor confided in me recently. He had just candidated with a church and it seemed like a perfect fit. But after a successful interview process where he led worship at the Sunday morning services, the elders pulled him aside for a private conversation. “You’re perfect,” they confided. “But frankly, we’re looking for someone younger.”

Scenario 2: He arrived a little late to our monthly meeting of local worship pastors and leaders, but it didn’t stop him from urgently sharing something. “I’ve got an issue, and I want your opinions,” he interrupted. “I’ve had an influx of musicians in my church lately. They’re really good, and they want to join my worship team.”

“Sounds great. What’s the problem?,” we queried.

His reply caught us off guard, “They’re coming from another church in our area. They said that their church doesn’t want to use them anymore, because…

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A Plea for Affordable Book-pricing

Academic journal pricing structures are another part of this story!

Larry Hurtado's Blog

Warning to readers:  This will be a rant, but I think it justified.

As I was perusing the Oxford University Press catalogue of new publications yesterday, looking for things I should recommend for library purchase, I noted with interest the publication of two further volumes in the Oxford Apostolic Fathers series, one volume on Polycarp (letter & Martyrdom) and one on Diognetus.  I was “flabbergasted”, however, to note that the one is priced at £140 and the other at £100, each of them a modest-sized hardback volume of ca. 250 pages.  (You can see the volumes in this series here.)  I don’t mean to pick on OUP.  I merely cite this instance as illustrative of the problem.  Unfortunately, this sort of pricing is all to common now, especially (for some reason) among European publishers of academic books.  The reason is that the publisher decides to produce a very small…

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Destroying Your Child’s Heart – One FB Picture At A Time


I wrote recently about the Private Parent and shared a few things I do in an effort to build a solid, if somewhat hidden, foundation in the lives of my children.

A heartbreaking situation between an acquaintance and her teen son prompted those thoughts several months ago.

Intense conviction flooded my heart and mind while we shuffled awkwardly and flushed red with him as she ranted and railed in a fit of maternal frustration and helplessness.  His eyes filled with tears and his voice cracked in an attempt to maintain some kind of composure and dignity while his mother stripped him naked and flogged him with her words.

In the middle of my kitchen.

In front of our whole family.

Click on over the for the rest of the story.

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Monogamy is unnatural

The dilemma of Proverbs 26:4-5

The Matt Walsh Blog

Monogamous marriages are unnatural. On this, I agree with the emailer below.

Now, behold these enlightening thoughts that I found in my inbox this morning:

Greetings Mr. Walsh,

I am a college professor, author, and researcher. It was obvious to me before you ever stated it that you are a man of little education and limited intelligence. Still, I commend your newfound fame and congratulate you on the enormous amounts of money you must be making.

[Five more sentences of insults and pretentious self-aggrandizement]

…You have become a hot topic in some of my classes and this very much worries me. It wasn’t until your name came up for a fifth time that I decided to investigate you. Your prose are rife with fallacies and Neanderthalic musings, so I could easily disembowel and discredit any part of it. But I’d like to concentrate on what seems to be your most common themes:…

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