Reformations Then and Now

I described the religious revolution that overcame the Jewish world in the seventh century BC, and which I compared explicitly to a reformation of the sort we know very well from Early Modern Europe. The resemblances between the two eras, as portrayed by a scholar like Baruch Halpern, are often striking. Halpern, indeed, repeatedly and [Read More...]

The Many Faces of Christ

Jenkins-The Many

My new book is just published! This is The Many Faces of Christ: The Thousand Year Story of the Survival and Influence of the Lost Gospels (New York: Basic Books, 2015). I have talked about this topic quite a bit on this blog, but this book addresses the subject in much greater detail. We often [Read More...]

Reformations, Plural

Over the next couple of years, we are going to be hearing a great deal about commemorating the European Reformation, which had its symbolic beginning with Martin Luther’s deeds in October 1517. In that sense, “the Reformation” was a specific series of events that occurred in Europe at a particular time, a historical moment like [Read More...]

Heads up on key new books in American and global religious history

Over at the Christian Century, Philip Jenkins and Grant Wacker offer suggestions for some key new books on American and global religious history.  One of the most tantalizing, co-edited by my friends Perry Glanzer and Joel Carpenter, is Christian Higher Education: A Global Reconnaisance, which seeks to give a global map of the recent development of Christian higher [Read More...]

Noah’s Magic

I have been writing about the semi-lost Book of Noah, parts of which survive in the Book of 1 Enoch. In trying to understand its role and origins, I would stress its practical role as a valuable textbook for those seeking protection against evil forces. Much of Noah seems designed for a community deeply interested [Read More...]

Reading Noah

In my last post, I discussed the Book of Noah, a semi-lost text that presently survives in very partial form in the Book of 1 Enoch. Here, I want to suggest some of the things we can learn from reading this book. Why should we read Noah? I should add that, as I mentioned in [Read More...]

Noah’s Book

At my church not long ago, the Sunday reading was from 2 Samuel, giving David’s unforgettable lament for Jonathan. Preceding that, though, was a cryptic reference attributing a statement to the Book of Jasher. That is not the only Biblical reference to a now lost book: we have (or to be more precise, don’t have) [Read More...]

Zechariah’s Angels

The Old Testament book of Zechariah challenges a lot of conventional assumptions about the development of Second Temple Judaism, and its chronology. Conventionally, historians of Jewish thought trace a series of very significant trends that emerged from the fifth century BC onwards, and which reached fruition only in the second century BC. Most strikingly, these [Read More...]

Zechariah and Revelation

I have been writing about the Old Testament book of Zechariah and where it stands in relation to the apocalyptic tradition, no less than to prophecy. Zechariah – and especially the final chapters, Deutero-Zechariah – were a huge influence on apocalyptic, and that is nowhere more clear than in the New Testament Book of Revelation. [Read More...]

Zechariah’s Apocalypse

I have posted a few times on the Old Testament Book of Zechariah, and especially its final chapters, which are known as Second or Deutero-Zechariah. The text is a huge influence on the gospels, and arguably on Jesus’s own circle. But Zechariah as a whole also stands in a very unusual and significant relationship to [Read More...]