Christians in Babylon

In the early Christian era, Mesopotamia/Iraq was a thriving center of rabbinic Judaism, and throughout the first millennium it was the intellectual capital of that faith. Given the Jewish background, naturally we find very early Christian settlements in Iraq. Within the Persian empire, the greatest seat of church power was of course at the capital [Read More...]

By the Rivers of Babylon

Ctesiphon-ruin_1864

In 1973, Geza Vermes reminded us, indelibly, that Jesus was a Jew, and subsequent generations of scholars have thoroughly absorbed that lesson. Less effective, though, have been statements that early Christianity also operated in a thoroughly Jewish matrix, and that the separation between the two movements was slow, uneven and patchy. Long after the first [Read More...]

PRAISING FAMOUS MEN

Following the recent untimely death of Marvin Meyer, I have been thinking of a dear friend who was his close contemporary, and who died at an even earlier age. This was Bill Petersen, who taught New Testament and Early Christianity at Penn State until his death in 2006, at age 56, and who was probably [Read More...]


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