Distorted Images

A friend and colleague shared an article on Facebook about the distorted view of the area of land masses that we get from conventional Mercator maps. This is a Peters map, which shows area accurately: This doesn't mean that the above map is “right” and the ones that we use more often are “wrong.” A [Read More...]

Review of Candida Moss, The Myth of Persecution

I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to participate in a blog tour organized by TLC, focused on Candida Moss' book The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom. Moss' book begins with modern perspectives on persecution and martyrdom, including examples which have made international news, and then turns [Read More...]

Changing History

The question of whether it is possible to change history is a staple of time travel science fiction. SMBC’s latest cartoon has an interesting take on it: HT Luke Barnes [Read more...]

Did Jesus Foresee, Plan, and/or Interpret His Own Death?

Did Jesus foresee his own death coming and interpret it beforehand? The opinions on this tend to be divided largely into two camps: conservative Christians who will say “Of course Jesus knew, he was God,” and others, including historians, who will say that, while Jesus might well have suspected that he might meet a fate [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...]

Bethel AME Church

I had the privilege of participating in worship at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Indianapolis this evening. My pastor Tom Bartley was invited to preach, and brought our church music team (of which I am a part) with him. The church has a fascinating history – for instance, it was a stop on [Read More...]

Lecture on Exodus and Conquest

I had hoped to make a recording of my class today, but we ended up discussing points raised by a student’s presentation, and so I recorded the above lecture in my office later in the day, so that I can post it and not take more class time covering the key points. I’d be interested [Read More...]

The Resurrection in Orthodox Iconography and the Marriage Gesture of cheir’ epi karpo

At SBL in November, John Dominic Crossan spoke about Eastern Orthodox iconography of the resurrection (I previously blogged about this). Here is an example of the iconography: I was struck by the consistent depiction of Jesus grasping Adam by the wrist, which I assumed symbolized that the entirety of the salvation was accomplished by God, [Read More...]

Joseph Hoffmann on Mythicism, Skepticism, and Historical Reasoning

Joseph Hoffmann posted on whether “anything goes” in mythicism, providing a wonderful discussion of the appropriate and inappropriate sorts of “skepticism” and illustrating how historians reason about the evidence regarding Jesus. Around a lengthy treatment of Hegelianism, he writes things like this: To say that Jesus is a plausible figure is thus merely to say [Read More...]

Does Making Charts Help Mythicism?

I laughed out loud when reading a recent post by Neil Godfrey. Most of it was neither laughable nor surprising. He discusses how we know people in the ancient world existed, with his usual shtick depicting historical Jesus scholars as confused bumblers. Nothing surprising, or interesting, except perhaps for his acknowledgment that historians in most fields do not [Read More...]


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