Larry Hurtado’s Destroyer of the God’s Part Two

BEN: Bruce Longenecker has now brought forth reasonably clear evidence that the graffito in Pompeii that uses the word Christianos makes clear that the term was being used of Christians (whether insiders or outsiders) in that city in the 60s or 70s. This would seem to comport with the literary evidence about the term being used in Antioch. This is important because it means that outsiders saw this group as something distinctive from Judaism in general in some ways, and presumably insiders did as … [Read more...]

Larry Hurtado’s Destroyer of the Gods– Part One

Larry Hurtado's new book, Destroyer of the Gods, which will emerge in a couple of weeks (Baylor, 2016 305 pages), is an important contribution to a goodly number of discussions about the formation of earliest Christianity, and whether or not it qualifies as a new or distinctive religion. In my view, its one of Larry's best books. Accordingly, we will have a dialogue with Larry about the book on the eve of its release.BEN: On p. 2 you talk about the earliest followers of Jesus believing … [Read more...]

Fostering the Arts?— Florence Foster Jenkins'm on record as saying I'd watch Meryl Streep play Kermit the Frog, she is such an amazing actress, and it's nice to watch her grow older and continue to play important age appropriate roles for her, like Julia Childs and now Florence Foster Jenkins (1868-1944), a very interesting music maven indeed. It will be worth your while to read the whole Wiki article on her, as the movie is a very faithful representation of both her personality and the last … [Read more...]

The Sin of Apostasy– Hebrews 6 Revisited

(The following is an excursus found in my Hebrew commentary in Letters and Homilies for Jewish Christians (IVP).THE EXEGETICAL ARM-WRESTLING OF PROTESTANTS OVER HEB. 6.1-6—A ‘TASTE’ OF THE DEBATETheological systems, while not bad in themselves, can often lead to very strained interpretations of Biblical texts, especially when the ‘system’ is the primary intellectual grid through which the text is being read. This can easily be illustrated from a close reading of Protestant commentar … [Read more...]

Ben Hur Redivivus—- the 2016 version I remember the 1959 film Ben Hur. No child of eight who saw that film could ever forget that climactic chariot race, nor the scenes of slaves rowing a giant Roman galley, nor for that matter the story of a Jewish family that had members that became followers of Jesus of Nazareth, but struggled with the desire for revenge when they were betrayed. It was an epic film in 1959 (212 minutes, starring Charleton Heston in his Biblical epic prime-- … [Read more...]

Pagan Angels???

Having just returned from another archaeological trip to Turkey, and having seen clear evidence of pagan belief in angels (see the picture below), I found my colleague Larry Hurtado's excellent summary worth reposting. ---by Larry HurtadoOver the past few days, I've been slowly digesting a recent large article surveying Greek inscriptions referring to "angels" in Roman Asia Minor: G. H. R. Horsley and Jean M. Luxford, "Pagan Angels in Roman Asia Minor: Revisiting the Epigraphic … [Read more...]

The Bankruptcy of the Prosperity Gospel

Check out this cartoon. It gets to the heart of the matter:  … [Read more...]

Lamentation– A Shardlake Novel by C.J. Sansom

Writing historically accurate novels is a lot of work, a lot of research, a lot of painstaking attention to detail. Writing seven such novels in a period of a bit over a decade or so means you must not have another life. C.J. Sansom lives in Sussex and writes massive historical novels (beginning with Dissolution which came out in about 2004 in the U.S.) about a very interesting period in English history--- the mid-16th century when Henry the VIII was the Tudor King, a King who broke away from … [Read more...]

A Dragon– For Pete’s Sake dragons just refuse to become extinct. One of those is that furry giant green dragon-- Pete's Dragon. If this story sounds rather familiar to you older readers, well you are right. This was already a Disney film in 1977,based on a Hollywood script. Originally set in the early 20th century in Maine (though filmed in California) this movie featured various pop songs by Helen Reddy and others. This version of the film is different in various … [Read more...]