He Shall Be Called a Nazorean: Intertextuality Without an Intertext?

In 2010 I read a conference paper at SBL on the reference in the Gospel of Matthew to something prophets had supposedly said, “He shall be called a Nazorean.” I looked at it from the perspective of intertextuality, and also brought my work on the Mandaeans into the picture. Since I still have not found [Read More...]

The Gospels as Biography

Mike Kok has been blogging through the question of the genre of the Gospels and the history of scholarship on the subject, and of late he has reached Richard Burridge’s work on whether the Gospels are Bioi, i.e. ancient biographies of the sort written in that historical and cultural context. His latest post features a [Read More...]

The Sabbath was not Made for Matthew and Luke

In a recent post I mentioned Jesus' statement (recorded in Mark 2:27) about the Sabbath being made for human beings, not vice versa. A commenter asked about the omission of this statement from the other Gospels, and I thought the subject deserved a follow-up post of its own. The other Gospels omit that element from [Read More...]

Diet Gospels?

Jim West posted the above photo featuring personalized Coke bottles available in the UK. I knew that Jim had really gone off the rails lately, but I had not realized quite how badly. Matthew and John as (according to the label colors) diet Gospels? Hmph!   [Read more...]

Statistics and the Synoptic Problem

Statistics tell us… well, even though they are numbers, statistics do not automatically provide answers to questions. And 73.2% of all statistics are made up on the spot – as that one was. But sometimes statistics can tell us something important. They can quantify what otherwise may seem vague and merely impressionistic. I regularly cite [Read More...]

Sheep and Goats

Today in my Sunday school class we took a detour from Hebrews. Last time we had reached the phrase “eternal judgment” and the question came up of whom the author of the letter envisaged being judged, and on what basis. And so I suggested that taking a look at the parable of the sheep and [Read More...]

Jeffrey Gibson on the Disciples’ Prayer

I had the privilege of taking a look recently at a draft of a book Jeffrey Gibson has been working on, about the Lord’s Prayer, or as he prefers it be called, the Disciples’ Prayer. He has a very interesting take on it, suggesting that a key background to the prayer is to be found [Read More...]

Synoptic Length Comparison

I chuckled when I read this in a student assignment today: A common argument,  analyzes the lengths of each of the synoptic writers. I’m pretty sure that I’ve never come across an attempt to compare the lengths of the writers of the Synoptic Gospels. I don’t know how one would go about undertaking such a [Read More...]

Young-Earth Creationists vs. the Parables of Jesus

A commenter pointed out something which I've also said in the past, but which bears repeating. Young-earth creationists are adamant that there must be one creation story in Genesis, and it must be chronologically coherent and factually, historically, and scientifically true. Ironically, Jesus, the one whom most of them claim to follow, taught primarily in [Read More...]

Jesus and Paul were not Literalists when it comes to Genesis 2-3

It is interesting how some modern readers simply assume that ancient individuals and authors shared their supposed literalism, and their focus on facts and history and science, all of which are thoroughly modern concerns. If we look at what Jesus is depicted as saying about Genesis 2 in the Synoptic Gospels, he points to the [Read More...]

Jesus the Gene Therapist?

I think that one reason some people insist that Adam in the Bible was a literal historical individual, and the genealogies in the Bible are literally factual, is that they understand sin as some sort of genetic defect. This is a terrible distortion of the Bible, not only because its ancient authors did not understand [Read More...]


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