Did Paul have Jews amongst his coworkers? Rom. 16 makes it clear he did. Did he convert some of these people to the following of Christ? He certainly did. Compare for instance the account in Acts 18.17 which speaks of a Sosthenes, a synagogue official (no proselyte he). 1 Cor. 1 (speaking at a later time than the time of Paul’s trial before Gallio), mentions ‘the brother’ named Sosthenes who probably helped Paul write down 1 Corinthians. More certainly Acts… Read more

Whether one is happy with the fact or not, Paul is quite committed to the notion that his fellow non-Christ following Jews are lost, and need to be won to Christ. This is especially, and excruciatingly clear in Rom. 9.1-5 where in great anguish he says that he could wish himself anathema, cut off from the Christ he loves and serves, if only his fellow ethnic Jews could be won to Christ, could be saved. He goes on to say… Read more

The two fundamentals listed in post one are independent of each other, in the sense that Fredricksen could be right about 1) and wrong about 2) or vice versa. In fact I think she is seriously mistaken about the first (here we go again with reading Paul through Schweitzerian eschatology just when we thought his ghost had been exorcised from the Pauline discussion) and is mostly wrong about the second one (Paul remained within the pre-existing spectrum of early Judaism)… Read more

Paula Fredricksen, Paul the Pagan Apostle, (Yale, 2017), 336 pages, $34.00. Paula Fredricksen is a fine scholar, whose first area of expertise was Augustine, but who also is gifted in the interpretation of the Bible, particularly the NT. On top of that, she writes, debates, dialogues well, and so her written work is often elegant. She is a good rhetorician as well, arguing her case in detail. This book reflects her deep reflections about Paul and it is an interesting… Read more

This is an excellent coming of age movie about a teenage girl in a Catholic high school in Sacramento California in the 90s. Her real name is Christine, but she has dubbed herself Lady Bird. Like so many coming of age movies (see e.g. the classic film The Breakfast Club) the film deals with the awkwardness of going through the latter stages of puberty, and raging hormones, and desperately wanting someone to like or love you, while knowing that certain… Read more

Here are two very interesting paintings related to the actions of Titus, who destroyed the Jerusalem Temple in A.D. 70, and then later became Emperor, and as part of his triumph brought back artifacts, including a large menorah to Rome and displayed them in a pagan temple. The first picture is of the conclusion of the firing and sacking of Jerusalem and its Temple. The second picture depicts Titus leaving the temple in Rome with the menorah and other things… Read more

On the third floor of the Museum are numerous important displays, including a depiction of what normal village life in Jesus’ day would have been like. It is modeled on Nazareth village in Israel an excellent recreation village. Here for example is a depiction of a winepress… Or here is a depiction of a life size olive press Or here is an elder in the synagogue, teaching from a Torah scroll, Read more

The new Museum of the Bible in D.C. is already garnering lots of visits and praise too. In a recent weekend it had 10,000 visitors in the museum at one time, and it can actually accommodate that many. Up on the sixth floor the IAA exhibit has many interesting artifacts, for instance lamps and glass perfume bottles from the Biblical period…. Far more interesting to me were the ossuaries, or bone boxes from the era stretching from the second century… Read more

Above is a painting of what the Temple Mount would have looked like in Jesus’ day. The IAA, or Israeli Antiquities Authority, has in its possession (and also on display in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, thousands upon thousands of antiquities from the Biblical period. This exhibit is temporary, but nonetheless well worth seeing up on the sixth floor of the Museum of the Bible. For example, for my money getting to see the small horned altar from Lachish was… Read more

Without question, one of the most spectacular new museums not merely in the U.S. but in the world is the new museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. which Ann and I got to go spend time in early last month. This museum has a basement plus six floors, or 430,000 square feet. It is huge, and easily the largest Bible museum anywhere. What you see above is the ceiling in the entrance way which constantly changes picture, in this… Read more

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