The Mystery of the Copper Scroll

“In the cistern which is under the wall on the eastern side, at the sharp edge of the rock: six silver bars; its entrance is under the large paving-stone.” Thus reads line eleven in column II of the most famous Dead Sea Scroll: the enigmatic Copper Scroll. It has two major features that make it…

“The Last Pope” Is Junk History

History Channel is running an original documentary called The Last Pope, and it’s two hours of hot garbage. Amidst endless padding relieved only by commercials, the documentary attempts to address the alleged prophecies of St. Malachy, and how they predict that Francis will be the last pope before the end of the world. Except… St. Malachy almost…

The Popish Octopus

Political cartoons are located somewhere between bonobo chimp vocalizations and bathroom graffiti on the spectrum of self-expression, and anti-Catholic cartoons are no exception. They tend to traffic in a few shopworn motifs to convey their contempt for Romish sorts, and the octopus makes regular appearances. This has the benefit of requiring no particular thought or…

Does Bloodstain Pattern Analysis Prove the Shroud is Fake?

The Shroud of Turin may or may not be the authentic burial cloth of Jesus Christ, but the Latest Scientific Research (TM) doesn’t move the needle on that argument one direction or the other no matter how many “Shroud Proved Fake!” headlines you see. The new research was presented in 2014 at a conference in…

Burial in Ancient Israel: The Earliest Evidence

Death, dying, and burial loomed large in the minds of ancients. Their art, poetry, rituals, religion, and traditions frequently focused on some aspect of mortality, and the region of ancient Palestine that gave birth to Judaism and Christianity are no exception. Given the extremely complex theological issues bound up in life, death, and sin, the way ancient Jews and Christians consigned their dead to the earth can tell us something about what they thought and felt.