SBL 2015 Paper Accepted

Woot! I have one of my SBL proposals accepted for Atlanta in November. It is in the “Use, Influence, and Impact of the Bible” section.

Creating Genesis in Their Own Image: On Young Earth Creationism’s Creative Mythology

Biblical scholars and theologians often deride Young Earth Creationism (YEC) as “bad theology” that represents an unsophisticated anti-modernist hermeneutic based on a simplistic doctrine of scriptural inerrancy. Consideration of YEC’s modern creation mythology often takes place in polemical contexts that accuses it of irresponsibly forcing the ancient biblical materials into a pseudoscientific straightjacket. Studies of YEC’s history and political agendas tend to take the phenomenon more seriously as an object of study in its own right. Some researchers note how YEC anti-modernist discourse builds on particular mythic notions of American identity (e.g., E. Caudill, 2014, on the cultural myths of the “Garden”, “Frontier”, “Progress”, and “Individualism”). These studies do not, however, examine in detail creationist hermeneutics and mythic constructs based on the Bible. I argue that YEC needs to be studied as a totalizing myth-making endeavor that embraces stories about origins and models of the universe developed from the intersection of Bible passages and appropriations of scientific concepts and language, along with myths about the Bible and of human religious, moral and intellectual history.

This paper presents the variety of YEC cosmologies as part of a more expansive myth-making process through by which creationists continually create meaning through a “play” between various social, cosmic, and historical paradigms and models, including the place and nature of science as method of gaining knowledge of the divine and as a factor in society. My methodology develops from thinkers such as J. Z. Smith, Wendy Doniger, André Droogers, and Bruce Lincoln. YEC’s myths of origins center on Genesis and adapt various interpretations of such things as the “firmament” and the origins and fate of the waters of the deluge. There are also various accommodations of biblical creation passages outside of Genesis. These models are typically placed in the context of a Western Christian view of Original Sin and Salvation. In some cases, the nemesis of YEC, “evolution”, becomes a facet of human apostasy from the origins of human society, preceding Darwin by millennia, thus positing the modern debate as intrinsic to the nature of the fallen world. This paper also traces some aspects of the paradox creationists face in having to cast revelation in a “scientific” light to affirm its cultural relevance and inherent integrity, and of the inner YEC dynamics surrounding the multiple cosmological options. I argue that this opens up opportunities for “scientific” debate not dependent upon the approval of secular scientists, thus the disagreement leads to a strengthening of creationist identity.

The Joys of the “Oh,Christ, Masses of Grading” Season.

Bah, Humbug!


On My Way Home!

I’m sitting in the San Diego Airport heading home from a very good time at the AAR/SBL, even if a lot of it was taken up by writing my damn papers. Both went OK so I’m pleased. I did take in a GREAT session on Mythmaking at Christian Tourist Attractions. Lots of food for thought for my creationist research project.  It was great to spend some time with Francis Landy, and I had a very good Indian meal with Anne Moore. Rebecca Raphael had a nice chat with Claudia Camp about a book. I also appreciated the meeting with Steve Wiggins who works for Oxford UP and blogs at Sects and Violence in the Ancient World. And speaking of bloggers, James McGrath was in fine form with a great paper in the Metacritizing Biblical Scholarship, and the blogging session and panel in which I was involved (James presided) was also really good, and I finally met a few more bloggers in person. Had a nice chat with Michael Kok and Willi Braun. Christopher Rollston talked about some of the behind the scenes academic freedom atrocities perpetrated by his former employer, Emmanuelle Christian college. He was told to resign or be fired for writing a Huffington Post article about how the disenfranchisement of women is an embarrassing biblical principle not enough Christians are wiling to admit. He said he NEVER had to sign a faith statement. The faculty handbook reproduced word for word the entire AAUP statement on academic freedom. Prof. Rollston had tenure.  The president and a colleague get pissed that he wrote something in a secular press, not even identifying his connection to the college, a donor threatens to pull out money and he is no longer welcome.

I didn’t end up spending too much money in the book exhibits. I got four or five volumes this time, most of which deal with modern atheism and fundamentalism.  I did see one volume of great interest:


This is the brand new, second edition of World Religions: A Guide to the Essentials, (Baker) by my colleagues, Hillary Rodrigues and Tom Robinson, with some chapters contributed by the rest of us in the department. I did the chapter on ancient religions. Buy this book. For a textbook, it is not very expensive. It’s nice to see it in print!

I’ll post some more later. Gotta run!

Can’t Miss Session: Mythmaking at Christian Tourist Attractions

Can’t miss this one! Directly relevant to my new research project!
North American Association for the Study of Religion
Theme: Strategies of Mythmaking at Christian Tourist Attractions
Saturday – 9:30 AM-11:50 AM
Hilton Bayfront-202B
wiki commons photo

wiki commons photo

This panel theorizes four present-day Christian tourist attractions as sites of ongoing social and mythic formation: The Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY, the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, KY, Bible Walk in Mansfield, OH, and the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, FL. Working from Bruce Lincoln’s observation that “myth is ideology in narrative form,” the papers examine various strategies by which Christian tourist attractions enable visitors to interact directly within mythic configurations. This direct interaction functions as a type of pilgrimage, whereby visitors locate themselves within a mythic trajectory that begins with the creation of the world and points toward an eternity with (or, perhaps, without) Christ.

Erin Roberts, University of South Carolina
Mythic Formation at the Holy Land Experience
Jennifer Eyl, Tufts University
Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego…and Jesus?: Anachronism as a Constituent Feature of Mythmaking
Steven Watkins, Northern Kentucky University
Myth, Anachronism, and Fiction: The Creation Museum’s Production of Scientific and Biblical Misplacements
James Bielo, Miami University
How to Build an Ark: Intertextuality and Authority Among Creationist Artists
Sean Durbin, Macquarie University
“It is what it is”: Rhetoric of Legitimation and Authentic Identity Construction on a Christian Zionist Tour of Israel

Safe and Sound in San Diego

Well, here I am in glorious San Diego for the AAR/SBL!  Finishing a paper today and going for a long walk.

Here’s the view from the 14th floor of the Omni Hotel








San Diego, here I come!

Off to San Diego for the AARSBL conference. Do I have my presentations done? Of course not. But I’m missing class today and on Tuesday, so do I care? Yes, yes I do. I think I’ll just make some powerpoint presentations with cat pictures, and that should work. I am dreading the question time though. I always get “What the hell was that all about?” or “Is it over yet”?lolcatOohGeez

If anyone wants me I will be at the Omni Hotel…

My sessions are both on Monday:


1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: 410 A (Level 4 (Sapphire)) – Hilton Bayfront (HB)

Theme: Academic Freedom and Biblical Studies

Rebecca Raphael, Texas State University–San Marcos, Presiding
Jim Linville, University of Lethbridge
In Search of the Biblical Flintstones? Some Thoughts on Creationism, Academic Freedom, and Scholarly Obligation(30 min)
Hector Avalos, Iowa State University
Academic Freedom and Creationism in Public Universities (30 min)
James F. McGrath, Butler University
Can University Walls Keep Out the Internet? (30 min)
Christopher Rollston, George Washington University
Freedom of Religion and Academic Freedom: Symphony and Cacophony in Confessional Higher Education (30 min)
Discussion (30 min)



4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: Room 1 B (Upper level) – San Diego Convention Center (CC)
The session will conclude with a panel of scholars who blog (including Chris Keith and Anthony Le Donne, among others), talking about key moments in the intersection of academic blogging and Biblical studies from recent months. One of the great things about blogging is that it allows discussion of Biblical studies and other academic news over the course of the year. This panel thus makes room for discussion of topics that could not be foreseen when the program was finalized in April. Expect mention of specific topics and panelists on the scholarly blogs prior to November!

James F. McGrath, Butler University, Presiding
Kimberly Majeski, Anderson University (IN)
Biblioblogging: A Bridge for Church and Academy (30 min)
James Linville, University of Lethbridge
May Contain Nuts and B.S. (Biblical Studies): The Politics of Academic Legitimacy Online and the Need to Properly Theorize the Category “@%!#*! Loonie” (30 min)
Other (90 min)



Hitler, Putting the “Win” Back in Darwin.

Take that, Ben Stein!

Ben_Stein_mitt_uns copy

Study Leave in the Bag!

WOOT!  I got word last week that my Study Leave application has been accepted, and barring last minute WTFery from the board of governors, I will have 12 months (starting July 2015) to get creative! Counting summer breaks, that’s about 16 months with no classes and no darn committee meetings! Horray!

Stolen from

Stolen from

I’m trying to finish a grant proposal. It is an internal U. of Lethbridge grant, ca. $23,000 over two years. Most of it will be spent on travel to as many of the creationist museums et. al. as I can make it to and some creationist conferences. I also want to spend some time at the National Center for Science Education Library in Oakland. They apparently have a lot of rare publications and so forth. The deadline is next week.

Details of the project here.

Creationist Events in Alberta

CREATON MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL has a list of some upcoming Creationist Events in Alberta, so the interested might want to go see. For more details and talks elsewhere in Canada, go to their website

One I made years ago.

Evolution, What Are The Facts?  Speaker: Calvin Smith
Thursday, Oct. 30  7:00 PM
Foothills Lutheran Church
3104—34th Ave NW, Calgary

Q & A Forum: Answers by the Book. Speaker: Dr. Jim Mason
Friday, Nov. 28 7:00 PM
Mirror Alliance Church
5011 50th Ave, Mirror, AB

Speaker: Dr. Jim Mason
Saturday, Nov. 29 
9:30: Origins by the Book
11:00: How to Survive as a Creationist in an Evolutionistic World
12:45: What About Dinosaurs?
1:45: Questions and Answers
Blackfalds Community Fellowship
5005 East Railway St, Blackfalds

Origins by the Book: Speaker: Dr. Jim Mason
Sunday, Nov. 30
Faith Community Church
4810 Womacks Rd, Blackfalds.

A List of Creationist Museums, Themeparks, Travelling Exhibits & Field Trips

I’m trying to catalogue as many Creationist Museums and the like (both big and small) as possible as a part of my new research project (see here). I’ve got a few dozen or so, but if you know of anymore please send me a note or add a comment! I will also be making a list of creationist organizations, but that is a much longer list.

I’ve tried to weed out the ones that don’t seem to be an on-going concern. There are a lot of dead webpages out there, and some of the smaller organizations may have a museum open but don’t have much of a web presence or a very out of date website. I haven’t contacted any of the organizers at this point.  I’d be grateful for any additions or corrections!

All Sorts 021

Big Valley Creation Science Museum “Evidence from Genealogy” Photo by JR Linville



Big Valley Creation Science Museum
Big Valley, AB

Creation Discovery Centre
Bow Island AB

Creation Truth Ministries (Secrets of Creation Travelling Museum)
Red Deer, AB


Museum of Creation (C.A.R.E. Ministries)
New Life Sanctuary Church
618 Muriel St
Winnipeg MB R2Y 0Y2


Creation Science Museum of Canada (travelling museum)
Creation Ministries of Ian Juby
110 Kings Road
Chalk River, ON
K0J 1J0

Creation Research Museum of Ontario
Goodwood Baptist Church
283 Highway 47 Goodwood Ont.

United States


Canyon Ministries (Grand Canyon creation tours)
PO Box 50571
12921 Pine Rock Ln, Parks, AZ 86018
Parks, AZ 86018

Creation, Evolution, and Science Ministries (Grand Canyon creation tours)
Flagstaff, AZ


Creation Research of the North Coast Museum (In Planning Stages)
Creation Research of the North Coast,
PO BOX 771,
Bayside, CA 95524

Creation Safaris 

19635 Green Mountain Dr.
Newhall, CA 91321-2147

Dino Creation Museum, Center for Natural Studies
6151 Fair Oaks Blvd, Sacremento, CA.

Creation and Earth History Museum* Light and Life Foundation
Santee, CA.

World’s Biggest Dinosaurs*
Cabazon, CA


A Key Encounter! Nature Theatre and Planetarium
Key West, FL.

Creation Adventures Museum
Arcadia, FL

Creation Discovery Museum
Creation Studies Institute
Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Creation Expeditions
Crystal River, FL

Creation Today (& The Creation Store)
5800 North W. Street
Pensacola FL 32505


Camp Sunrise Museum
1427 Slate Mine Rd., S.E.
Fairmount, GA 30139-2835


Northwest Science Museum
NWSM Vision Center
1831 Wildwood St.
Boise ID. 83713


Ark Encounter (under construction)
Answers in Genesis
on I-75
Williamstown, KY

AIG Museum. Photo: Wikipedia: Public Domain

Creation Museum
Answers in Genesis
PO Box Hebron KY 41048
2800 Bullittsburg Church Road
Petersburg, KY 41080


God’s Ark of Safety Ministry
18606 Cherry Lane
PO Box 52
Frostburg, MD 21532
Church/Conference centre built as replica of Ark


Creation Museum of the Ozarks
112 Pine St.
Strafford, MO. 65757


Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum
Foundation Advancing Creation Truth
PO Box 684
Glendive MT 59330-0684


Boneyard Creation Museum
1709 S E Street
Broken Bow, NE 68822

New Jersey

Creation Science Hall of Fame (Online, planning physical structure)
P.O. Box 82
Tranquility, NJ 07879

New York

Origins Museum
Exploration Science Center
Tri-State Family Christian Center Building
100 Faith Court
Rt. 209 in Port Jervis, NY 12771

North Carolina

North Carolina Museum of Creation,
Taxidermy Hall of Fame of North Carolina,
Antique Tool Museum

156 Northwest Broad Street,
Southern Pines, NC

Akron Fossils and Science Center Ark

Akron Fossils and Science Center Ark. Photo by By Ian Juby ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Akron Fossils & Science Center      
2080 South Cleveland-Massillon Rd.
Copley, OH 44321


Creation Truth Foundation (& Mobile Museum of Earth History)
PO Box 1435
117 South Main St.
Noble, OK 73068


Bible History Exhibits
Institute for Biblical & Scientific Studies

2424 East Hagert Street
Philadelphia, PA  19125

South Dakota

Grand River Museum
114 10th Street
West Lemmon, SD 57638


Ark Museum and Dinosaur Park Project Creation: A Creation Education Ministry
Murfreesburo, TN

Wyatt Archeological Museum
2502 Lynnville Hwy
Cornerstone, TN 37047


Creation Evidence Museum
Glen Rose, TX

Discovery Center
Abilene TX

Mt. Blanko Fossil Museum
PO Box 550
124 W. Main
Crosbyton, TX 79322

Museum of Earth History, Creation Truth Foundation
Dallas, TX;


Creation Hall Museum
Centre for Creation Studies, Liberty University
1971 University Boulevard
Lynchburg, VA 24515


Seven Wonders Museum
Silverlake, WA


What’s the Evidence?  (Travelling exhibits)
Wisconsin Fair Booth

Genesis Expo, Portsmouth. Foto by geni (Photo by user:geni) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


United Kingdom      

Genesis Expo
Portsmouth, UK

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm
Clevedon Road
BS48 1PG

Ultimate Questions Creation Trailer (travelling displays)
Creationist Out Reach Ministries
Northern Ireland


Wuppertal, Germany


Noah’s Ark
Maasstraat 14
3313 CR Dordrecht


Parque Discovery
Mafra, Portugal


Land Of Genesis Theme Park (Projected)
Genesis-Land AG
Molkereistrasse 1, CH-8645 Jona

Western Pacific 


Jurrasic Ark: Outdoor Creation Museum
Gympie, Queensland,
(Creation Research: Worldwide Creation Research Team).

Hong Kong

Noah’s Ark
33 Pak Yan Road
Ma Wan, New Territories,
Hong Kong

 New Zealand

Creation Museum of Aotearoa/New Zealand  (defunct?)
2 Truby King Drive, Waikouaiti 9471,
Otago, New Zealand
(defunct? Link does not work.

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