Holy Crap and Holy Ground

In preparation for tomorrow night’s reading/party of Scott Korb’s new book (out in stores today!) Life in Year One, here are a couple of related pieces just out today. On the Washington Post‘s On Faith page, Korb takes a look at the question of holy ground:

Historically, too many people have believed that God literally resides on earth. Our believing this has made God’s places of residence not only sacred pilgrimage or “heritage” sites, but also evidence of God’s commitment to us. Likewise, our own unyielding defense of those places has been seen as evidence of our commitment to God. That is, if the Temple’s Holy of Holies was truly where God lived until its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE, what’s left of it is ours to defend, until the end of time.

Over on Asylum, they were a little more scatalogically focused:

First-century Jews can make modern religious types look positively lazy. Take the Essenes, who were so holy that they wouldn’t even defecate on the Sabbath.

“According to the historian Josephus,” says Korb, “on other days—and one imagines a mad rush Saturday night—‘they dig a hole a foot deep … and draping their cloak around them so as not to affront the rays of god, they squat over it …'”

We hope to see you over at KGB Bar tomorrow for a bit of Russian vodka, some shit-talking from Korb about early Palestine, KtB editor Ashley Makar’s invocation of James Agee’s ghost from the Deep South, and general revelry.