June 24, 2010
Jesus may not have died nailed to the cross because there is no evidence that the Romans crucified prisoners two thousand years ago, a scholar has claimed.
The legend of his execution is based on the traditions of the Christian church and artistic illustrations rather than antique texts, according to theologian Gunnar Samuelsson.
He claims the Bible has been misinterpreted as there are no explicit references the use of nails or to crucifixion – only that Jesus bore a ‘staurus’ towards Calvary which is not necessarily a cross but can also mean a ‘pole’. Full story at the Telegraph.
Us Godcheckers are left wondering. Jesus never went near a cross – it was a pole. So how did he die then? Hit over the head with it? Impaled? A terrible pole-vaulting accident?
In case you’re wondering, the scholar in question is a devout Christian. We urge him to complete his research and track down the missing murder weapon before anyone else gets injured.
June 4, 2010
Artist's rendering of Medusaceratops. (Copyright Luis Rey)
Michael J. Ryan of The Cleveland Museum of Natural History has announced the discovery of a new kind of horned dinosaur named after hideous Greek gorgon Medusa and Loki the infamous Norse Trickster God.
Approx 20 feet long and weighing more than two tons, Medusaceratops Lokii was a plant-eating dinosaur living nearly 78 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period in what is now Montana, USA.
Its identification marks the discovery of a new genus of horned dinosaur. Medusaceratops had giant 3 feet long brow bones and a large, shield-like frill off the back of its skull adorned with large curling hooks. The name refers to the thickened, fossilized, snake-like hooks on the side of the frill. Medusa the Gorgon had a full head of hair consisting of horrible wriggling snakes, which were ugly enough to turn any onlookers to stone.
Medusaceratops Lokii means ‘Loki’s horn-faced Medusa’.This particular example was named after Loki, the Norse God of mischief, because the new dinosaur initially caused scientists some confusion. Loki is well-known amongst Godcheckers for producing some pretty nasty offspring. However his newly-discovered dinosaur child seems quite unique and strange. Typical Loki behavior really.
Read the story in full at Science Daily.
June 1, 2010
Rubber Soul: Aztec God Xiuhtecuhtli playing with his rubber balls. Note the awesome sneakers. Click for larger view.
New research from MIT indicates that pre-Columbian peoples, including the Aztecs, Olmecs and Maya, were advanced rubber chemists.
By processing the sap from local rubber trees and fine-tuning it with other ingredients, an extraordinary variety of rubber materials were created.
For the soles of their sandals, they made a strong, wear-resistant rubber. For the balls used in their famous religious games, they processed it for maximum bounciness. And for rubber bands and adhesives used for ornamental wear, they produced rubber optimized for resilience and strength.
An Aztec football pitch.
It turns out that rubber production was much more advanced in Mesoamerican times than was previously thought, and the rest of civilisation’s budding football teams had to be content with kicking pig bladders around until the rubber renaissance of Charles Goodyear’s vulcanisation process in 1839.
We are busy checking our archives for Rubber Gods. Rubber balls and other bouncey items from antiquity have already been found. Now the search is on for a genuine pair of Aztec sneakers with rubber souls.
Original story from MIT here.
May 27, 2010
Botticelli's Venus and Mars. Copyright 1483 © Botticelli.
One of the National Gallery’s best-known paintings, Botticelli’s Venus and Mars, far from depicting the all-conquering power of pastoral love, may be an illustration of the potency of hallucinogenic drugs.
Following enquiries by David Bellingham, a programme director at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Kew Gardens have identified a plant held by a satyr in the painting as Datura stramonium, a plant with a history of sending people mad and making them want to strip off their clothes. Its hallucinogenic properties were recorded in ancient texts and it has since been used as an aphrodisiac and a poison.
The drug-dealing satyr caught red-handed.
The fruit of the plant is also known as thorn apple and Devil’s trumpet. The plant, known as the ‘poor man’s acid’ in the States, is highly poisonous. Guy Barter, of the Royal Horticultural Society, said that Datura became notorious in the late 17th century when it was eaten by British soldiers visiting Jamestown in Virginia. “They went off their heads for a few days,” he said.
Now that the blatent drug reference has been discovered, the painting makes much more sense to your humble Godcheckers. Mars is clearly on a heavy trip, while Venus looks on disapprovingly… and somewhat disappointedly.
Full story at the Times Online.
Thanks to @ForteanTimes for the heads-up.
May 22, 2010
Outraged Orthodox Jews protesting at the desecration of ancient Jewish graves as part of a hospital building project in the southern city of Ashkelon may have been wasting their time.
A two thousand year old pagan altar has just been discovered on the site, convincing authorities that the graves are pagan, not Jewish. The ‘magnificent’ altar is Roman in style, depicting a bull’s head decorated with laurel leaves.
Pagan or not, the mortal remains from the graves have already been given to undertakers to be reburied in Jewish cemetaries.
Heads-up via religionnewsblog.
Full story at Yahoo
May 17, 2010
Image copyright the Supreme Council of Antiquities - Click to zoom
A colossal statue of the ancient Egyptian deity THOTH, the God of wisdom, is the latest artefact to be discovered near the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III during archaeological works aimed at controlling the subterranean water level on Luxor’s west bank.
Story via Archeology Magazine
Read the full story at the Independent website.