Lazarus and James

I have been posting on the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man, as told in Luke’s chapter 16, and puzzling out its possible relationship to the miracle of Lazarus in the Gospel of John. Here, I will pursue that question by citing another curious source, namely the Epistle of James. James was for centuries [Read More…]

Jesus’s Anointings

Last time I posted about the New Testament passages describing the anointing of Jesus. Here, I will explore the implications for approaches to Scripture, literalist and otherwise. Each of the four gospels has a scene in which a woman uses costly oil to anoint Jesus, with the suggestion that this is in preparation for his [Read More…]

She Treasured It In Her Heart

I’m wondering when it is possible to argue from silence when reading historical sources, and particularly in a Biblical context. I have been writing recently on the Virgin Mary in early Christianity, and was initially taken aback to find how even I tended to attribute statements to the wrong gospel, and thus the wrong historical [Read More…]


I recently posted on Jesus’s Resurrection appearance in John 21, where the disciples meet him at the Sea of Galilee. I argued that this scene, or something like it, was the very oldest version of the Resurrection story as it would have been known, for instance, to Paul around 50AD, and that it long predated [Read More…]


In this coming Easter season, I will be thinking of coal fires, anthrax, and anthracite. The coal fires, especially, are critical to our understanding of the New Testament accounts of the Resurrection. Like all good fires, they shed light – specifically, on how the Gospel of John was composed and edited. Let me explain those [Read More…]


I have been working on the fate of alternative scriptures in the millennium or so following the early Christian era – say, between 500 and 1600. My argument is that, in that long period, many or most of the old alternative texts that were so popular in the early church continued to thrive and to [Read More…]