Saturday, August 30, 2014

Links to the works of Origen in English

More useful links on another church father can be found on this webpage.

Church fathers online

Roger Pearse, the founder of the Tertullian Project, has added more texts from other early church fathers to his website. These are out-of-copyright English translations from a wide range of writers. It's where I direct my Augustine students when they need to locate a translation of Possidius' biography of Augustine, among other things. Obviously, these aren't the latest and greatest translations necessarily as it takes 70 years for the typical book to be considered out of copyright and freely available. But they will do in a pinch for quick skimming when you can't get to a library -- or when your library doesn't have a copy of any translation. Roger also has a very useful blog about patristics news, e.g. discoveries of new manuscripts--like more sermons of Augustine and Origen's homilies on the Psalms in Greek (previously only available in Latin translation)--both from libraries in Germany.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

This just in from the BBC. Story found here.

Sudan death row woman 'to be freed'

Last updated 36 minutes ago
Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag pictured on her wedding day with her husband Daniel Wani
Meriam Ibrahim has been sentenced to 100 lashes as well as death by hanging
Sudanese authorities are to free a woman who was sentenced to death for having abandoned the Islamic faith, a foreign ministry official says.
Meriam Ibrahim, who gave birth to a daughter in custody, will be freed in a few days, the official told the BBC.
Abdullahi Alzareg, an under-secretary at the foreign ministry, said Sudan guaranteed religious freedom and was committed to protecting the woman.
Khartoum has been facing international condemnation over the death sentence.
In an interview with The Times newspaper, British Prime Minister David Cameron described the ruling as "barbaric" and out of step with today's world.
The UK Foreign Office this week said that it would push for Ms Ibrahim to be released on humanitarian grounds.
Apostasy debate
Ms Ibrahim, 27, was brought up as an Orthodox Christian, but a Sudanese judge ruled earlier this month that she should be regarded as Muslim because that had been her father's faith.
She refused to renounce her Christianity and was sentenced to death by hanging for apostasy.
On Wednesday, she gave birth to a daughter in her prison cell - the second child from her marriage in 2011 to Daniel Wani, a US citizen.
The court said Ms Ibrahim would be allowed to nurse her baby for two years before the sentence was carried out.
The court had earlier annulled her Christian marriage and sentenced her to 100 lashes for adultery because the union was not considered valid under Islamic law.
Sudan has a majority Muslim population and Islamic law has been in force there since the 1980s.
The ruling has revived a debate over apostasy, with liberal and conservative scholars giving different opinions over whether - and how - the act of abandoning the Islamic faith should be punished.
BBC © 2014

Text of statement from the Sudanese Embassy to the United States

The link in my previous post appears not to work consistently--it could be that the Embassy website got inundated with hits. So here is the text:

The Case of Mariam is neither religious nor political, It is Legal
This case remains a legal issue and not a religious or a political one

The Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan in Washington DC has noticed with regret some of the official statements and media coverage on the case of the Sudanese citizen Mariam Ibrahim Yahia; as some of them have mistakenly accused the government of Sudan of violating human rights by depriving Mariam of her civil rights as a Sudanese citizen.  In this regard, the Embassy would like to confirm the following:
The official records of the Government of Sudan indicates that the real name of the lady mentioned in this case as Mariam Ibrahim is actually ' Abrar Elhadi Muhammad Abdallah Abugadeen' and there is no official record shows that her name was changed to Mariam Ibrahim Yahia. Abrar was born in um Shagrah in Algadarif state on Jan. Ist. 1986 to Muslim Sudanese parents and the claim that the mother is an Orthodox Christian from Ethiopia is untrue.
There was no Government agency behind the case; rather her immediate family had reported their daughter as missing, later and after she was found and claimed that she is Christian, the family filed a case of apostasy against her.
The ruling of the judge was made at the primary court after hearing all parties involved since February 2014, and it is subject to be implemented in at least two years if confirmed by three levels of courts which are: Appeal Court, Supreme Court and finally the Constitutional Court. The Judiciary System in Sudan is independent, and the Sudanese Judges are qualified and dignified.
This case remains a legal issue and not a religious or a political one. It is unwise and dangerous to politicize the issue at hand to spur religious tension between the two peaceful faiths with similar foundations. Notably, It is important to emphasize that freedom of choice is the cornerstone of both Islam and Christianity.
While reaffirming the commitment of the Government of Sudan to all human rights and freedom of beliefs, the Embassy of Sudan in Washington DC would like to thank all those who have raised their concern and sympathy on this issue.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Sudanese Embassy in Washington, DC, issues a statement on Meriam

...which says precisely nothing. Sudan apparently allows "freedom to choose a religion." What it doesn't say is that if you choose the wrong one, you can be executed. Or put another way, you are free to choose a religion, but there is only one choice available. An "incorrect" choice is invalidated, thus your "freedom" is maintained, but so is the court's freedom to nullify your choice. And if you choose to marry someone in the wrong religion, that marriage is not valid. More Orwellian by the minute.

You can read the statement here.

Friday, May 23, 2014

My form letter reply from the Sudanese Embassy

Yesterday I received a letter in the post (at my Oxford college) from the Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan to the United Kingdom and Ireland, in reply to my letter to the Sudanese Ambassador out of concern for the case of Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, sentenced to 100 lashes and death by hanging for 'adultery' (sleeping with her husband) and 'apostasy' (continuing in the Christian faith in which she was raised). Not at all personalized, apart from the handwritten envelope. You'd think they would figure out if I'm male or female at least. But the fact that I got a form letter reply suggests that they have received a lot of mail on behalf of Meriam. "We can't interfere with our judiciary system"--as if the country were not rife with corruption. "Our country has freedom of religion" -- but apparently not the freedom to change religion nor (if a Muslim, or supposedly Muslim, female) to marry outside your religion (no restrictions if you're male). Nice touch to point out that Sudan was Christian before much of Europe was (and before the arrival of Islam)--but they probably didn't realize they were sending this to a scholar of early church history! "Muslims must believe in Moses and Jesus" -- ignoring the importance of what one believes about them. Still, the letter attempts to be conciliatory, reassuring, and (of course) diplomatic. Moreover, the fact that they bothered to reply suggests that perhaps the government is paying attention to the international outcry. One can hope.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Amnesty International - email for Meriam

Amnesty International has made it very easy to send an email--much like the CSW link.

Name, email address, click. And an email goes to government officials in the Sudan.

If you don't wish to send an email via their website, Amnesty International provides the email, fax, and snail mail addresses for several key officials for DIY communication.