New Hobbit Production Video!Here's another tease for you to whet your appetite. My crack spies (all Orcs they are) tell me that Peter Jackson is only days away from finishing up the Hobbit. Can't Wait. … [Read more...]

Bart Ehrman on ‘Did Jesus Exist?’ Part Three


Q. You spend most of the first third of the book laying out the evidence that in fact Jesus did exist, both Biblical and extra-Biblical, both Christian and non-Christian evidence. In your judgment, is there any of this evidence that you find much more compelling than other evidence, or is it simply that we have a wide variety of independent testimonies, and so the cumulative evidence is what is decisive for you?A. It is obviously important for a historian to look at all the evidence. … [Read more...]

Bart Ehrman on Did Jesus Exist? Part Two


Q. Why do you think it is that some atheists are so adamant about trying to eradicate Jesus entirely from the historical record, by claiming he never existed? It seems they protest too much. Wouldn't it be just as congenial to their views to argue that yes he existed but: 1) he wasn't God, and 2) he wasn't nearly as important as Christianity made him out to be, in particular they might simply deny he was the world's savior? Why do you think they insist on such an extreme position? It's … [Read more...]

Bart Ehrman’s on Did Jesus Exist? Part One


In the next few posts we will have a Q and A time with Professor Bart Ehrman about his new Harper book, Did Jesus Exist? which (not surprisingly) has sparked considerable interest. A special thanks to Bart for taking considerable time to answer the questions I sent him. ----Q. What prompted you to not merely write Did Jesus Exist? but prioritize it?A. I had wanted to write the book for some time, for a simple reason. A few years ago I started getting emails from people asking … [Read more...]

Having the Devil of a Time….


It's an old tension or conundrum, but still one worth pondering. On the one hand, it's a mistake for the Christian to give Satan too much credit for what is going on. Some Christians find demons under every rock in the NT, and even talk about a demon giving them a cold etc. Of this sort of demonizing of everything that goes wrong in life, the NT shows no hint.Indeed, it is worth noticing that Paul never even uses the word demon, save once ('you cannot share in the table of demons and … [Read more...]

Humanities vs. the Sciences– Who Wins the Prize?

(Here's another interesting piece by my friend and colleague, Larry Hurtado) Recognizing Achievements in the Humanities by larry hurtadoAttending yesterday the installation of my colleague, Prof. Jane Dawson, as a new Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the installation of several Honorary and Corresponding Fellows as well, I was struck by two things: (1) the impressive achievements and contributions to research of all of them, and (2) the fact that overwhelmingly they were … [Read more...]

Mark’s Community— or Lack Thereof

Here is a post by Larry Hurtado that deals with the state of the discussion about the provenance and community of Mark's Gospel. The Quest for the Mark “Community” by larry hurtadoAt this year's annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature (17-20 November, Chicago), the Mark Seminar will have as one of its foci the recurring issue of the historical provenance of the Gospel of Mark. We've invited advocates of some difference putative provenances to make a case, specifically sh … [Read more...]

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel– What a Way to Go


"Everything will turn out alright in the end, and if it's not alright (at present), then it's not the end!' With this line Sonny reassures his English guests in Jaipur that things will get better in the dilapidated hotel from the era of the Raj to which they have chosen to retire. Well, actually when it comes to that hotel, things could only get better, but I digress.John Madden has directed lots of good films, and this is certainly one of them. Despite the fact that its themes are old … [Read more...]

Ancient Literacies IV— Further Insights

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On the cover of the book we have been discussing is an image of a little known painted panel from a villa in Pompeii. What it depicts is the tools of the trade of writing-- an inkwell, a stylus a papyrus, a wax tablet... Writing in antiquity was nothing like writing on a computer today. It was a long lugubrious, messy process. In this post we want to highlight some of the insights in this collection of essays we have not thus far mentioned.One of the virtues of this volume for NT studies … [Read more...]