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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Paul, the Romans need another epistle

"Now I run to father Dante to find out what circle of Hell my beloved Roma has fallen into: maybe that of the proud and vainglorious. Conceding three goals in eight minutes could only have happened to a squad that thought it was divine."

"We are in a time of theoretical equilibrium in football. A technical savaging like this leaves one genuinely stupefied."

"...this is the price you pay on nights in which beauty knows how to make itself ruthless"

Just some of the words from the Italian press (collected here) about last night's glorious performance (Man U 7-1 Roma). Ronaldo was stunning (a bit greedy perhaps but he can be forgiven under the circumstances) as was the whole team. Giggs is playing like I never thought he would once his devastating pace left him: he is a very smart player. Good to see Alan Smith score. Rooney. Carrick (very nice goals). Ah, the whole team were simply outstanding. EVEN Fletcher had an excellent game. Passing, speed, clinical finishing, the lot. Maybe when United beat Juventus away when they were 2-0 down in '99 was better but as an all round performance of breathtaking quality. And remember no Scholes or Neville or Saha. I honestly thought United would blow it last night and their season would go down in flames.

United have a good record against Italian teams so maybe AC Milan would be the best semi-final but they are one Italian team that can be a serious problem on their day. I never like United playing Bayern Munich and that would be even tougher I think.

But I can enjoy the Roma victory for the time being.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Football Highlights

The Guardian's 'Sports Blog' has been collecting some great sporting things from You Tube. Some of the football ones have been excellent. Here's a selection /i want all in one convenient place. I want a good Maradona one too.

Oh, and apologies for the music. Well sort of. It's hardly my fault. But the music isn't what I would have chosen. Let's leave it at that.

George Best
The Guardian’s take will do here: Pele good, Maradona better, George Best

Mark Hughes
Many happy, happy memories here and still cheering the great goal against Barcelona in the 91 Cup Winners’ Cup final…

By the way, does anyone know of a link to Hughes’ spectacular volley against Spain in 1985 (apparently) or sometime around the mid-80s?

Hristo Stoichkov
This starts ok but gets better and better.

Remember just how good Ronaldo was at Barcelona, before the weight increase and all that?

And here is Romario, not only one of THE finest goal scorers of all time but one of THE finest players of all time.

Our American friend JB Hood was deeply upset by the lack of US highlights. He's mentioned a couple in the comments to which I'd add Freddie Adu. But as I was picking the highlights from the Guardian 'Sports Blog' I can happily announce that there is now a US addition: a classic Roy Wegerle goal:

Response to Rohrbaugh

Some comments have been raised concerning Rohrbaugh’s grumpy but vaguely ok comments made about Why Christianity Happened. I’ve been ultra-busy of late but I’ve only some brief comments anyway. I’ve also got some more interesting football clips from You Tube that will follow shortly (much more interesting…)

Obviously he didn’t like something about my overtly secular perspective but I’m not too bothered about that. In fact, to widen this out I’m now just tired of people saying I deplore theology, religion, Christians etc. when I don’t, and have argued to the contrary in print (including WHC), that I barely respond these days. Instead, most frustrating is his dismissal of arguments he doesn’t agree with. Instead of providing reasons, he just gives some polemical off-hand opinion. These are not counter arguments, just opinion without argument (see also Danny Z’s comments...but I don’t see how Loren R can regard this as fair). I am a little confused here: are those of us who hold the view of a law-observant Jesus in Mark supposed to just change our minds because someone who doesn’t work in that area doesn’t agree??? There is no mention of what biblical Sabbath law Jesus-in-Mark might have broken (there isn’t one). And what about some mention of the logic of the transmission of impurity underlying hand-washing (and incidentally, washing hands is what keeps the food clean in purity law; cf. Mk 7:15, 19), and not to mention that Mark 7:18-19 does not make very good grammatical sense and certainly does not have to be taken to imply all food clean in the conventional sense (and certainly wasn’t automatically taken this way)? Jewish law (especially purity) is a very complex area (and to be fair he does give me high praise on this issue) and it is very frustrating when people who don’t look into it simply say the answers. This is probably no surprise, as research into the details of the Law for those outside the Jesus movement and the Christian movement may not hold up to some deeply held Christian and/or Western cultural views when used in relation to the gospel texts.

He gets too hung up on the title. That’s in the realm of publishers (I’m accepting of my boring titles and subtitles being regularly changed) and frankly it means little to me (unless it’s offensive or something like that, obviously). The Intro to WCH makes it crystal clear that the objective of the book is to explain how we get from observance of the law to non-observance. This also ties in with his strange comments on what I should have known about social-scientific literature (again no explanation is given). The stuff on networks is pretty comprehensive, particularly in the material from outside biblical studies. Loren thinks this might be a reference to the honour-shame stuff that has been arguably the major approach used by the Context Group, of which Rohrbaugh is a member. If so, I just do not see how this would fit in with a socio-historical explanation (as Jim West notes, there is no focus on the subtitle, so there is some missing of the point here) for shifts in non-observance. Other than that, I have no idea what he means and he really should have said if he thought such comments were worth making.

But I do worry that this might be a piece of polemic reserved for those who use social sciences but are not members of the Context Group. For all the good stuff done by the Context Group (I certainly do not set myself up against them: in fact I’m happy to use their stuff), there have been some odd comments (can’t remember who said it at the top off my head) dismissing Theissen’s and Meeks’ use of social sciences as not relevant!! Most of those doing social sciences outside of the CG (and some inside?) regard the work of Theissen and Meeks very highly. Obviously I like the stuff of Meeks and Theissen and I’m not if such polemic is helpful.