Speaking about Religion

I am teaching a class this semester which focuses on speaking about religion. It will focus on integrating (1) effective communication, (2) the skills that pertain to finding accurate information about religion, and (3) navigating the controversies about religion in the present day. The “readings” for the course will all be recordings of people speaking. And I [Read More...]

Origen on Adam (Corrected)

Ken Brown pointed out that the image I shared misattributed the quotation to the wrong work by Origen. I apologize for not having verified every last detail before sharing it. And so, in light of that, and since I wasn’t entirely happy with the use of “man” where “humanity” was meant in the translation used, I [Read More...]

Jewish National and University Library Digitized Book Repository

Ancient World Online linked to the Jewish National and University Library Digitized Book Repository, which includes a lot of rare items, such as a Latin copy of Josephus’ works from 1486.   [Read more...]

The Very Model of a Biblical Philologist

Josh Tyra made this delightful video. David Lamb and Darrell Pursiful brought it to my attention. It is a parody of a famous Gilbert and Sullivan song. Mandaic gets a mention! [Read more...]

Exegesis as Reading

The Patrologist recently blogged about exegesis as reading, warning about two extremes – the tendency to falsely claim to be merely reading and not interpreting, and the tendency to atomize and miss the big picture. Here’s the conclusion: I am constantly amazed to interact with so called ‘critical scholars’ who look at, say, a book like [Read More...]

Son of Man

I’ve been wondering for some time whether extreme skepticism of the depiction of Jesus even in our earliest sources hasn’t gone too far. A number of scholars have been bringing the pendulum back the other way. Bart Ehrman, for instance, thinks that Jesus thought himself to be the Messiah. If we remove all such views and [Read More...]

Spending the Night with Jesus

One objection to the antiquity of the Secret Gospel of Mark is that it uses the phrase “to spend the night with” (εμεινε συν αυτω την νυκτα εκεινην), which has sexual connotations in our time, but was not so used in antiquity. It should be obvious that this is a circular argument. If the phrase had no [Read More...]

Did Morton Smith Forge the Gospel of Philip?

The Gospel of Philip was found at Nag Hammadi together with other Coptic texts, and so it would have involved quite a conspiracy for Morton Smith to have forged the text and placed it in the midst of the other Nag Hammadi texts. But since some scholars consider Smith to have been a mastermind at [Read More...]

Quote of the Day

“It’s not lost, it’s not a gospel, it’s a very naughty marketing campaign.” – Rev. Arun Arora, speaking about the claims in Simcha Jacobovici’s book The Lost Gospel. [Read more...]

Married with Children? Recent Headlines About Jesus and Mary Magdalene

Lots of people have been sharing the “news” headlines that a Syriac text allegedly reveals that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children with her. The fact that the book these news articles are designed to promote mentions “decoding” an ancient text is the first sign that this is dubious. That the “decoding” will be carried [Read More...]

Lexidion Codicis Nasaraei

I had the privilege of visiting the rare books room at Christian Theological Seminary yesterday. One item that caught my eye is the one I took a photo of above, Matthias Norberg’s Lexidion Codicis Nasaraei. It is a dictionary of the words in the Ginza Rba (Great Treasure), the principal sacred text of the Mandaeans. [Read More...]


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