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...]

Take Up Your Cross

I received a question in an e-mail that seemed worthy of a blog post rather than just a private response. The question was about the depiction in the Gospels of Jesus telling people to not simply follow him, but to take up their cross and follow him. One question is obviously whether Jesus can be [Read More...]

Do Gospel Authors Owe Us The “Truth”?

I read the words below in an article in today’s New York Times about the blurriness of the lines between history and historical fiction in recent movies. How do you think its points relate to the depictions, reworkings, and interpretations of history in the Gospels? I for one doubt that the majority of people in [Read More...]

An Important Book on the Synoptic Problem

My review of Dennis R. MacDonald’s book Two Shipwrecked Gospels: The Logoi of Jesus and Papias’s Exposition of Logia About the Lord has been published by Review of Biblical Literature and can be read online. Here is how the review begins – hopefully that will inspire readers of this blog to click through and read [Read More...]

The Sermon on the American Mount

Another gem from Jeff Carter. This time he gives what most Americans seem to think Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: You have heard it said, “Do not resist an evil person,” but I tell you “shoot first,” it’s your second amendment duty to shoot bad guys.    If anyone slaps you on the [Read More...]


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