THEY GATHERED AROUND A COAL FIRE

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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...]

WHY MARY?

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I recently posted about the historic devotion to the Virgin Mary, and the range of alternative writings and even pseudo-gospels that it inspired. These texts made Mary a close facsimile of Christ, with a comparably miraculous story of conception, birth, death and (in a sense) resurrection. Mary’s birth-story is described in the Protevangelium, and the [Read More...]

THE ICON OF THE MAGDALENE

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Grace Cathedral in San Francisco is one of my favorite religious structures in the US, and it is also home to a fine piece of modern spiritual art. In 1988, the Episcopal Church elected its first woman bishop, Barbara Harris, who was consecrated the following year (Harris is also African–American). To celebrate the event, the [Read More...]

JESUS’S WIFE

You have probably observed the media fuss over the ancient text – a lost gospel? – that apparently refers to “Jesus’s wife.” The story is a classic illustration of how the media misinterpret religious stories, but the underlying issue is of rather more interest. Briefly, Harvard Professor Karen King reported the discovery of a Coptic [Read More...]


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