This post and the next few feature the cartoons of my friend Mark Frontzak of Bellingham, a Christian cartoonist, used by permission. Narcissism— the heart turned in upon itself, the attempt at self-glorification, the insecurity produced by radical individualism, where there is never enough praise, never enough self-promotion. never enough ‘I am the greatest’. Read more

Here’s an interesting recent story about underground tunnels with Christian symbols in Syria, perhaps dating to the time of the Diocletian persecutions. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5679413/Ancient-secret-church-early-Christians-worshiped-former-ISIS-held-territory.html Read more

Thin Places by Timothy George Here’s a nice post by my friend Timothy George. See what you think BW3 The following is a meditation for All Saints Day presented at Christchurch in Montgomery, Alabama. Several years ago, my son Christian and I, along with our friend David from Brazil, made a pilgrimage to Skellig Michael. Skellig is the Irish word for “rock,” and Skellig Michael is a rocky mountain island jutting 700 feet out of the icy waters of the… Read more

Here is another helpful post by Larry Hurtado on the work of Eldon Epp. Epp on Historical Impact of NT Manuscripts by larryhurtado In a recently-published essay, Eldon Epp gives a fascinating and detailed account of the initial scholarly engagement with major NT codices in the 18th-19th centuries: “Codex Sinaiticus: Its Entrance into the Mid-Nineteenth Century Text-Critical Environment and Its Impact on the New Testament Text,” in Codex Sinaiticus: New Perspectives on the Ancient Biblical Manuscript, eds. Scot McKendrick, David… Read more

“Material Culture” of Early Christianity by larryhurtado A recent multi-author volume commendably addresses the physical/material evidence of early Christianity: Alan H. Cadwallader, ed., Stones, Bones and the Sacred: Essays on Material Culture and Religion in Honor of Dennis E. Smith (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2016). Given the focus of the volume, it is curious, however, that there appears to be no treatment of a highly important body of physical evidence: earliest Christian manuscripts. To be fair, the omission isn’t peculiar to… Read more

Here’s an interesting post by colleague and friend Philip Jenkins ——- Throughout history, both Jews and Christians have been extraordinarily prolific in producing alternative scriptures, which we conventionally divide into Old and New Testament apocrypha (or pseudepigrapha). Some texts, though resist such neat divisions. While apparently expanding on Old Testament events and personalities, they actually present Christian doctrines so strongly that they certainly belong alongside New Testament texts, and some can be considered alternative gospels. One of the most impressive… Read more

Paul Trebilco’s work is very important and here is a useful post about it. BW3 Trebilco on Early Christian Self-designations by larryhurtado In recent years a lot of scholarly effort has been given to questions about early Christian “identity,” how early and in what ways early believers in Jesus saw themselves and acted as distinct groups with their own identity. Major research projects continue to be devoted to this sort of question (e.g., the project on Prayer and Early Christian… Read more

Learning from Fallacies by larryhurtado Last week (29-31 August) featured the 2013 British New Testament Conference (in St. Andrews), always a combination of scholarly papers (of varying persuasiveness), catching up with long-time colleagues, and meeting bright and energetic postgrad students from various universities. The BNTC was founded through the leadership efforts of J.D.G. Dunn and (the late) Graham Stanton, in discussions commencing in 1978, the first BNTC held in 1980 (Glasgow). (For more information, the British New Testament Society web… Read more

LINDISFARNE LITURGY Was it ever thus, then and there So no one need ask who, when and where The stones themselves cried out With the metal bells That God was in his heaven Though some were in their hells… Did it seem quite fixed, fashioned, formed So few would dare to query, quibble, quit The pilgrimage well-trodden Up the Dun Cow Lane To Cuthbert’s choired cathedral Saints sung the same refrain… From holy isle, aisle, I’ll Never look away, askance,… Read more

In an age where one can pretend to be an expert on the internet when one is not, and one can self-publish works that really aren’t scholarly work, it is good to have some reminders as to why careful critical review of scholarly work is important. BW3 Expertise and How to Detect It by larryhurtado Last week a friend pointed me to a web site where a guy, claiming expertise in something else (cryptography, I think, but it doesn’t matter)… Read more

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