What Did Jesus Mean?

I am still wondering about the saying attributed to Jesus in various forms in various Gospels (and in Mark, denied as a false accusation), “I will destroy this temple and in three days rebuild it”. That something like this was the earliest form is most probable, and it seems to be authentic. The big question [Read More...]

Antidisestablishmentarianism

OK, although it proves I’m a nerd (as if any of you had any doubts) I will come right out and admit it: ever since I was a child and first learned about the longest word in the dictionary I have been eagerly awaiting an opportunity to use it in a sentence. I suppose that [Read More...]

What’s Wrong With Being “Right”?

For those who are enthusiastic about the voices calling for a return to or preservation of the Christian foundations of our society, you will probably find yourself largely in agreement with the sentiment of another famous politician, who said: The national government will maintain and defend the foundations on which the power of our nation [Read More...]

The Bible and the Liberal Arts

Over the past year at Butler University the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has been working to make more explicit its role at the university including in professional education. Faculty have been adding a ‘liberal arts statement’ to their syllabi to this end. Although I customize it for each course/syllabus, I have a longer [Read More...]

More on Mark’s Missing Ending

In a recent discussion of the ending of Mark’s Gospel on X-Talk, it was suggested that having Jesus himself appear to the women, after his appearance has been promised through angels, is redundant, and I agree. But this is precisely what Matthew does to Mark’s narrative, i.e. create a story with precisely this redundancy, and [Read More...]

Things Your Minister Wishes He Could Tell You

There are things your minister, pastor, priest or preacher would love to be able to tell you, but cannot because of concerns about job security. I am not only thinking about the scandalous revelations that occasionally come to light, nor even the relatively minor fact that your pastor sometimes comes to the pulpit the same [Read More...]

Animation from Scratch

This is just a quick entry to share a couple of useful sites I’ve learned about recently (one about a month or two ago, the other yesterday). The first is the site of a program called Scratch which one can download freely from the MIT web site. It allows one to make one’s own animation [Read More...]

Did Paul Get Whacked?

This entry is simply to share another interesting connection between Biblical literature and popular culture, in this instance Micah Kiel’s article on the Society of Biblical Literature web site entitled “Did Paul Get Whacked? The Endings of The Sopranos and the Acts of the Apostles“. The question asked there regarding what constitutes a ‘good ending’ [Read More...]

The Lesser of Two Evils

Many thanks to Jim West for bringing recent news about liberation theology to our attention. What I find most troubling about most of the discussions of religion and economics is that we find ourselves choosing ‘the lesser of two evils’, as though our only options are Capitalism and Communism in a more or less pure [Read More...]

Phil Collins, Anton Bruckner, and Jesus

The title may sound like a joke, but the truth is that most recent discussions of oral tradition in the Gospels have made use of the Lord-Parry school’s work on folk songs and epics. I have some significant problems with this, given the role of meter and rhyme and the assistance to memory provided by [Read More...]

Accuracy is not Inerrancy

A news item mentioned on the Christianity Today blog (which itself interacts with and quotes Jim West’s blog) as well as in newspapers highlights a Babylonian tablet that correlates with information in Jeremiah. This is a fascinating discovery, and very interesting for historians. From a historian’s perspective, this just shows that the Bible at times [Read More...]


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