Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Elohist Psalms

Psalm 42-83 are known as the Elohist Psalms-because they refer to God as Elohim and not as Yahweh. There is also a collection of collections, known as the "Elohistic Psalter" (Psalms 42 – 83). In the Elohistic Psalter, God is usually referred to as 'Elohim, whereas God is normally called Yahweh in the other psalms. When the same psalm has been included in two collections (such as Psalm 14 and 53 or Psalm 40:13-17 and 70), the version in the Elohistic Psalter will often use 'Elohim instead of Yahweh. This can be seen in most English Bibles, since they usually translate 'Elohim as "God" and Yahweh as "Lord." For example, compare Psalm 14:7 with the parallel verse, Psalm 53:6; or Psalm 40:16 with its parallel, Psalm 70:4.

Bible Movies by Sean O'Neal September 29, 2011

Jewish people celebrating Rosh Hashanah have already received the gifts of a Hanukkah movie not being made by Mel Gibson, and numerous awkward "Happy New Year—or do you say that?" sort-of jokes from their clueless gentile friends. Now they also have the prospect of a huge, Warner Bros.-backed epic about the life of Moses, a guy that Jews pretty much think is aces, like, just the tops. They're also quite fond of Steven Spielberg, whom Warner Bros. is currently courting to direct their Moses story—which the studio takes pains to point out is absolutely not a remake of The Ten Commandments, even if it will similarly follow Moses from birth to death, hit highlights like his freeing of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt and their escape across the Red Sea, and touch on his occasionally contentious yet ultimately way-tight relationship with his buddy God. After all, that's just how the story goes. You know, the story that God wrote? What, you want they should change the word of God?

Unfortunately, while Spielberg has shown some interest in Moses in the past with the DreamWorks Animation film The Prince Of Egypt, it also seems likely that he'll be far too busy for the next couple of years shooting Lincoln and mounting the similarly epic Robopocalypse (as foretold in the Book of Revelation). Still, Spielberg has reportedly read and is currently considering taking on the script from Green Lantern co-writer Michael Green and Stuart Hazeldine, who, it should be noted, also wrote Warner Bros.' upcoming 3-D "aerial warfare" adaptation of John Milton's Paradise Lost. And with that film, this new Moses project, and the Warner Bros.-backed Mel Gibson/Joe Eszterhas take on Judah Maccabee, it definitely seems as though the studio took one look at all the rampant public domain scavenging of late, then decided to stake preemptive claim on some of the oldest stories in history. Perhaps Darren Aronofsky will have a place to make Noah after all.


Paul Verhoeven's Jesus movie by John Semley

By the director's own admission, Paul Verhoeven's Robocop is, in its heart of cyborg hearts, "a Christ story"—the tale of an "American Jesus" died and resurrected. These comments reveal the Dutch director's longstanding scholarly interest in the life of the non-American Jesus, whose story he may be bringing to big screen. According to Indiewire, funding for the director's Jesus movie is now falling into place, with The Rules Of Attraction writer Roger Avary hired to write the script.

On paper, the idea of the guy behind Basic Instinct and Showgirls working on a movie about Jesus may seem off, an attempt for studios to keep pace with big-budget productions about Noah and the life of Moses. But Verhoeven has always had a keen interest in the Christian figurehead, serving as a member of the Jesus Seminar—a group of scholars and Christ buffs who use colored beads to vote on the historical factuality of deeds of Jesus of Nazareth. He even published his own pseudo-scholarly text on the subject, 2008's Jesus Of Nazareth, and has long expressed interest in making a movie on the subject. But don't expect a piece of explicitly Christian crucifixploitation like Mel Gibson's The Passion Of The Christ. (Or, alternately, do see all that stuff, in Verhoeven's own Dutch thriller, The Fourth Man, which is
laced with perversely sexualized Christian imagery.)

In keeping with his book's secular bend, Verhoeven's Jesus movie will cast the famous Nazarene as a shit-stirring prophet, stripping away all that miracle-working and returning from the dead stuff. As Verhoeven writes in the first pages of Jesus Of Nazareth: "I picture [Jesus'] travels more like the camping trips my friends and I used to go on when we were teenagers. Being crammed into a tent with your buddies has its drawbacks…Jesus' companions must have heard him snore, snuffle, and fart." So expect, also, the fartingest depiction of the King of Kings ever seen on the big screen.


Gods and Kings

Here's an interesting one to ponder on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. Warner Bros is courting Steven Spielberg to direct Gods and Kings, an epic-sized film about life of Moses. There haven't been formal meetings yet, but Spielberg has read the script by Michael Green and Stuart Hazeldine. Getting Spielberg is a long shot on any film because his deal is complex, his dance card is always full, and Warner Bros would have to be willing to share the picture with DreamWorks. Still, I've heard there will be a discussion. Gods and Kings covers the life of Moses from birth to death. In between, there is his awakening to the plight of the Hebrew slaves that led Moses' struggle against the Pharaoh for their freedom out of Egypt; the Ten Plagues; the Burning Bush; the daring escape across the Red Sea; receiving the Ten Commandments, and delivery to Israel. The film is not a remake of the 1956 Cecile B. DeMille-directed The Ten Commandments, which covered similar ground. Gods and Kings is based on the Book of Exodus and other stories from the Old Testament, and a treatment by Matti Leshem. The film is being produced by Dan Lin and Lesham. Hazeldine scripted the Legendary Entertainment/Warner Bros epic Paradise Lost, and Green, who co-wrote Green Lantern, created the TV series The River for Spielberg as a midseason series on ABC. It's the first time they've written together. I'm not sure if this will happen, but the idea of Spielberg taking on a biblical film with such global appeal seemed tantalizing enough to mention. It's worth noting that The Ten Commandments was one of the most profitable films of its era, grossing $65 million in the 1950s, which is close to $1 billion if adjusted for inflation. Nobody involved would comment.

This marks the second high-profile film Warner Bros is developing on a seminal Jewish hero. Mel Gibson and Joe Eszterhas are collaborating on their pitch to tell the story of Jewish warrior Judah Maccabee, who teamed with his father and four brothers to lead the Jewish revolt against the Greek-Syrian armies that had conquered Judea in the 2nd century B.C. Gibson has the first option to direct, and he will produce the film through his Icon Productions banner.

Zeitoun: (Note: The name "Zeitoun" means "Olives" in Arabic-and the mount of Olives is called "Jebel Zeitoun" in Arabic. In Egypt, there is a suburb of Cairo called "Zeitoun" in which the Coptic Christians believe Mary, Joseph and the Christ-child rested under a tree-the descendent of which is still standing. Also, at Zeitoun, Cairo in 1969, an apparition of the Virgin Mary was seen by thousands-including Moslems-and photographed! I don't place my faith in such "miracles" but I have encountered such miracles in my journeys. I saw a book entitled "Zeitoun" a few months ago, and I had some serious concerns about it, primarily that it was leftist propaganda-it turns out my concerns were justified. The hero of the piece-a Moslem named "Abdul-Rahman Zeitoun," is a violent wife-abuser and has been arrested for attempted murder.)

Zeitoun is a nonfiction book written by Dave Eggers and published by McSweeney's in 2009. It tells the story of Abdulrahman Zeitoun, the Syrian-American owner of a painting and contracting company in New Orleans who chose to ride out Hurricane Katrina in his Uptown home. After the storm he traveled the flooded city in a secondhand canoe rescuing neighbors, caring for abandoned pets and distributing fresh water. Soon after the storm, Zeitoun was arrested without reason or explanation at one of his rental houses by a mixed group of National Guardsmen and local police. He was not immediately charged with a crime but was imprisoned for 23 days without having stood trial. During that time he was accused of terrorist activity presumably because of his ethnicity, was treated inhumanely, and was refused medical attention and the use of a phone to alert his family. His wife and daughters, staying with friends far away from the city, only knew that he had seemingly disappeared from the face of the earth. Abdulrahman Zeitoun is a Muslim who grew up in Syria. After a few years of apprenticeship in the Syrian port city of Jableh, Zeitoun spent twenty years working at sea as a muscleman, engineer and fisherman. During this time he traveled the world and eventually settled in the United States in 1988. There he met his wife, Kathy — a native of Baton Rouge who had converted to Islam — with whom he founded their business, Zeitoun Painting Contractors, LLC. In late August, 2005, as Hurricane Katrina approached the city, Kathy and their four children left New Orleans for Baton Rouge. Zeitoun stayed behind to watch over their home, ongoing job sites and rental properties. Once the storm made landfall, their neighborhood (although miles from the nearest levees) was flooded up to the second floor of most houses. Zeitoun began to explore the city in a secondhand canoe, distributing what supplies he had, ferrying neighbors to higher ground, checking on his tenants, and caring for abandoned dogs. On September 14, Zeitoun and three companions were arrested at one of Zeitoun's rental houses by a mixed group of National Guardsmen, local police and police from out-of-state. Although the men were not immediately charged with any crimes, they were detained in a makeshift jail in a Greyhound bus station for three days time before being transferred to Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in nearby St. Gabriel, Louisiana. Zeitoun was held at Hunt for 20 more days without having stood trial. During that time he was refused medical attention and the use of a phone to alert his family of his predicament. The key theme of the book is the fragility of constitutional rights in the face of a state of emergency. Zeitoun, while on his own property, was arrested and taken into custody by a law enforcement group pulled together from local and out-of-state police, national guard, and possibly mercenaries. He was treated brutally and denied due process: no attempt was made to secure the alleged crime scene or gather evidence, and he was held in a maximum security prison for three weeks, denied medical treatment, a phone call and a lawyer, all without formal charges being brought against him. Throughout the ordeal, he was the victim of verbal and physical abuse and witnessed its regular infliction upon other detainees. When he was finally charged, it was for looting in the amount of $500, and bail was set at $75,000, ten times the normal amount for the crime. In a Kafka-esque twist, three different officials of the judicial system refused to disclose to his wife the location of his public hearing on the grounds that the information was "private." After finally being released on bail, Zeitoun found that his house, left unlocked by the arresting officials, had been looted. Officials refused to return his wallet with his drivers license and permanent resident card because it was being "held as evidence." And when he did get it back, his cash and credit cards were missing. All things considered, he fared better than the three companions who were taken into custody with him. They were incarcerated for even longer periods while one, who was trying to evacuate New Orleans carrying his life savings, $10,000, in cash, never saw his money again.

The author describes with no small amount of irony the speed and efficiency with which the city of New Orleans was able to convert a Greyhound bus station into a Guantanamo-style prison even as it proved incapable of handling the logistics of food and sanitation for the refugees at the Superdome. The crowning irony is that one of Zeitoun's arresting officers, New Orleans Police Officer Donald Lima, actually had been looting. According to the author, he and other police officers had been breaking into convenience stores regularly for cigarettes and chewing tobacco which they traded to the National Guard for gasoline. Lima further admitted to stealing gasoline using a siphon, not only for official vehicles but to fuel his two home generators. Through the story of Zeitoun, the author invites the reader to contemplate abuse of power, in particular, the ease with which those with marshall authority can slip into police state mentality once the normal checks and balances are breached by disaster. Anti-Islam sentiment is another issue addressed throughout the book. It is not only Abdulrahman who is discriminated against, but also his wife Kathy, a convert to Islam who wears a hijab. It is mentioned several times in the text that she is looked at differently for her Muslim attire everywhere from the grocery store to the DMV. She shares her experience of being laughed at by her family, who did not raise her as a Muslim and do not respect her choice to convert. Although anti-Islam sentiment is a theme, it should be noted that two of the men taken into custody with Abdulrahman, as well as many others caught up in the same net, were not Muslims and also had their rights to due process abrogated. For example, the author describes the case of Merlene Maten, a 73 year old diabetic arrested for looting as she was retrieving food from a cooler in her car and incarcerated for 13 days despite the efforts of her family and the AARP to secure her release. The main function of anti-Islam sentiment in the book was to show the prism through which Abdulrahman viewed his incarceration, that because of his nationality and religion in post-9/11 America, he could not feel confident of receiving justice, and so his ordeal was especially terrifying. The importance of family and close relations is also stressed. Abdul's family, although residing across the world, are terribly worried about him when he goes missing. They are mentioned often as being interactive in the lives of Kathy and Abdul. Kathy depends not only on her own family but on Abdul's side of the family as well. Kathy and Abdul treat their friends as family, too, depending on them for food and shelter during the storm. Eggers began work on the book in 2006, after meeting Kathy and Abdulrahman through another McSweeney's project called Voices from the Storm. He worked closely with the Zeitoun family while researching and writing the book, meeting with them multiple times in New Orleans and letting them read six or seven versions of the manuscript. Eggers also visited members of the Zeitoun family living in Syria, as well as Abdulrahman's brother Ahmad, who lives in Spain. Eggers says he will not personally make money from the book's publication; funds from the book will be distributed by the Zeitoun Foundation, a nonprofit set up by Eggers and the Zeitoun family for this purpose. Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "He kicked off the decade as the look-at-me stylist behind 2000's A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. The fact that Eggers bookended it with this gut-wrenchingly poignant and selfless Katrina story proves that even boy wonders can grow up." Zeitoun was nominated in the Creative Nonfiction category for the 2010 California Book Awards. The book is currently being made into a movie, set for release in 2014. The film will be an animated film and is being directed by Jonathan Demme, the director of films such as The Silence of the Lambs.


Mr. Zeitoun, 54, is back where he was seven years ago — in a New Orleans jail — on three charges of soliciting murder, said Remi Braden, a police spokeswoman. She said detectives had "credible information" of the plot. Abdulrahman Zeitoun was charged Wednesday in New Orleans with soliciting the murder of his ex-wife, son and another man. His arrest was a jarring twist for the main character of the acclaimed book. It follows Mr. Zeitoun after the storm as he ferried desperate neighbors to higher ground in his secondhand canoe. But Mr. Zeitoun, a Syrian-born American citizen, was arrested by the police and National Guardsmen who mistook him for a terrorism suspect and detained him for days at a Greyhound Bus station and then a maximum-security prison. Charges against him were later dropped. After the book, the Zeitouns became vocal campaigners against police corruption and unlawful detention. The Zeitoun Foundation, created in 2009 by the couple and Mr. Eggers to aid in the rebuilding of New Orleans, has distributed more than $250,000 in grants, according to its Web site. In an interview with The New Orleans Times-Picayune, Ms. Zeitoun said the book had accurately portrayed their relationship at the time. But she said her ex-husband had since grown angrier and more violent and his Islamic views had become more "radical." Last month, Mr. Zeitoun was jailed on charges that he attacked Ms. Zeitoun with a tire iron, punching and choking her in public until a witness stopped him. He also pleaded guilty last year to charges of negligent injury after pushing his wife to the floor and punching her in the head, and was sentenced to anger management classes. The police did not release any details of the alleged murder plot. But Ms. Zeitoun said she could no longer remain silent about her ex-husband's violent side. "I'm not going to be quiet about it anymore because being quiet puts him in a position to do it again," she told the Times-Picayune.

Stephen's Comments: First off, I am no fan of the Bushes. Now, the RINOs are trying to push a George P. Bush-we don't need anymore of these Bushes. But, I think it is absurd how Democrats think that W. Bush somehow created Hurricane Katrina. It reminds me of these scene in Lord of the Rings where the evil magician Saruman conjured up a storm. It seems like Democrats think that Bush did the same thing. I remember reading an article over ten years ago about the aging levee system and the danger it posed to Louisiana. Nothing was done and finally a disaster occurred. I don't think it was Bush's fault. But, we have Alinsky politics and Rahm Emmanuel's slogan "never let a good crisis go to waste." The tragedy was unfairly blamed upon Bush. The Zeitoun book is anti-American and an attack on the army National Guard. Liberals love Islamist terrorist because they hate America just as much as they do. Also, self-loathing liberals despise America because they perceive Americans as "racists"-so even legitimate concerns about terrorism are just "racism" in the twisted liberal way of thinking. Here, the liberals chose a Muslim that they thought was a "victim" of American "racism." But, it turns out that their victim was a violent, extremist victimizer and a wife beater. Also, he offered a man tens of thousands of dollars-probably money given to him by liberal dupes, to murder his wife, her son and a man that he perceived (perhaps falsely) to be her boyfriend. The current situation reminds me of the classic Sally Field's movie "Not Without My Daughter."

Ramadan TV

Reuters) - A television drama about the life of a seventh century Muslim ruler, Omar Ibn al-Khattab, is polarizing opinion across the Arab world by challenging a widespread belief that actors should not depict Islam's central figures. Conservative clerics denounce the series, which is running during the region's busiest drama season, the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Scholars see an undesirable trend in television programming; the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates has publicly refused to watch it. But at dinner tables and on social media around the region, "Omar" is winning praise among many Muslim viewers, who admire it for tackling an important period in Islam's history. Some think it carries lessons for the Arab world, which is grappling with political change unleashed by last year's uprisings. Salam Sarhan, a columnist at the Lebanese newspaper Diyar, said the show was part of a gradual trend for the Islamic world to re-examine its heritage more critically, and would open the door for more television and cinema productions depicting central figures in Islam. "If anyone dared to depict these figures 20 years ago, he would have been accused of blasphemy," he wrote. "Simply put, depicting these revered figures with their mistakes, limitations, rivalries, anger, hunger and thirst will thrust Islamic societies into a new phase." FOUR CALIPHS Mostly filmed in Morocco, the show was funded by the Dubai-based but Saudi-owned MBC Group, a private media conglomerate, and state-owned Qatar TV. The 30-episode series, which an MBC spokesman said cost "tens of millions of dollars" to make, is being watched on satellite television across the Arab world. It has been praised for its elaborate sets and costumes, visual effects and battle scenes which involve elephants and hundreds of extras. But for many viewers, the production values have been outweighed by the fact that actors in the series play Omar and three other close companions of the Prophet Mohammad who were the first rulers of an empire that expanded out of the Arabian Peninsula. Historically, Muslim scholars have discouraged the depiction of revered figures in art, and some argue it is expressly forbidden, on the grounds it could be misleading or encourage idolatry. This is why mosques are adorned with elaborate plant and geometric patterns instead of human and animal images. Though some close companions of Mohammad have been portrayed on screen in the past, the productions have mostly been by Shi'ite Muslims. The Omas series is believed to be the first time that a drama depicting all four caliphs has been made by Sunni Muslims, who form the majority across the Gulf and North Africa and have historically taken a strict line against depiction of such figures. "Depicting the closest companions of the Prophet was a shock to the (Arab) societies," said Suaad al-Oraimi, professor of sociology at UAE University. Saudi Arabia's grand mufti, the highest religious authority in the country, harshly criticized the series in a sermon, while Cairo's prestigious seat of Sunni learning, al-Azhar University, also came out against it. "The Guided Caliphs were promised the heavens ... Their lives cannot be depicted by some actor," Ahmed al-Haddad, Dubai's grand mufti, wrote in an emailed statement to Reuters. UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed became one of the show's most prominent opponents by tweeting: "I will not watch the Omar Ibn al-Khattab series." His comment was retweeted thousands of times within a few days. Sheikh Hamad Wael al Hanbari, a prominent Muslim scholar based in Istanbul, said he was concerned that the reputations of the caliphs could become contaminated. "It's completely unacceptable," he said. "These actors would go on to play other roles - in action movies, for example - and would forever be associated with the Rightly Guided Caliphs. This is very dangerous. Their image has to be protected." DEFENDERS The show does not lack defenders, however. Saif al-Sahabani, a columnist at Saudi Arabia's Okaz newspaper, dismissed the idea that portraying prominent companions of the prophet was forbidden under Islam's sharia law. "The show has revealed a gap in the Arab and Islamic collective consciousness, especially among those who rely on tradition rather than their own minds," he wrote.

Stephen's comments: In the 1990s, when I went to Egypt, a kindly Muslim told me about the Ramadan sweeps. During Ramadan, you cannot eat, drink, smoke or have sex during the day time. At night, you can do everything. Ramadan can fall during any time of the year-depending on the lunar calendar. But sometimes it falls during the long hot summer. Not surprisingly, most Moslims in the Islamic world just sit around all day long watching TV during Ramadan. A Moslem talked to me about how they introduced Arabs to "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," "McGuyver," and "Hercules and Xena" during the Ramadan season-it is the best time to introduce new TV shows-that soon become all the rage. However, now, they are watching fanatical Muslim propaganda, as can be seen on the Jews eating Arab boys the "blood libel" TV miniseries shown during Ramadan and exposed on "Obsession the Movie." Now we see more Islamist propaganda with this series on the Four "rightly guided" caliphs. All of these successors of the prophet Mohammed were such murderous thugs-that all of them were hated so much that they were all assassinated-the first was poisoned, the others all died violently, some were killed my furious mobs. It says a lot about Islam that three of the four of the "rightly guided" Caliphs died violently.

Southern Poverty Law Center Incites Violence Against Christians

The Radical Leftist Organization "SPLC" has created an enemies list. Evangelical Christians are now place on this list and labeled as "extremist groups." A leftist radical, obviously influenced by the SPLC, went into the Family Research Council in an effort to commit a massacre. He shot the security guard but was subdued. There has been a pattern of Evangelical churches and evangelical Christians being a target for violent attacks by left. The media doesn't report on this dangerous trend-although this has been going on for years as illustrated in the Wedgewood Baptist Church Massacre. A security guard at the Family Research Council was shot and wounded in the arm Wednesday Aug 15 after a scuffle with a man in the lobby of the organization's headquarters in Washington. The shooter walked into the lobby and was confronted by the security guard, according to The Washington Post. The man had a gun and opened fire at the guard but the guard and bystanders wrestled him to the ground. Fox News reported that the case is being treated as a case of "domestic terrorism." The Family Research Council is a conservative group that deals with family and faith issues and is led by Council President Tony Perkins. They support pro-life and pro-family issues. It was founded by James Dobson in the 1980s and believes that homosexuality is a sin. It's mission statement says that marriage can be only between one man and one woman and that marriage and families are "the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society."

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